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Cord Blood Stem Cells

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Bree Nagora

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of Cord Blood Stem Cells

Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types such as skin, muscle, or nerve cells.
In order to learn about cord blood stem cells, one must first have a general understanding of what stem cells actually are and of what they are capable of doing.
They are found in either one of the two main sources: adult tissue (adult stem cells) or in embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development (embryonic stem cells).
Cord blood stem cells are actually adult stem cells found in the umbilical cord of a baby. They are the first adult stem cells formed in the human body!
What are stem cells?
Adult stem cells can divide or self-renew indefinitely, enabling them to generate a range of cell types from the originating organ or even regenerate the entire original organ.
It is thought that adult stem cells are limited in their ability to differentiate based on their tissue of origin.
But there is some evidence to suggest that they can differentiate to become other cell types.
Stem cells do not serve any one function; they have the capacity to serve any function after they are instructed to specialize. This is why scientists are so interested in the research of stem cells.
Lets talk about some of these applications of stem cells.
Stem cells are able to regenerate tissue. Currently, organs must be donated and transplanted, but the demand for organs far exceeds supply. Stem cells could potentially be used to grow a particular type of tissue or organ if directed to differentiate in a certain way. Therefore stem cells could fix the organ transplantation vs demand problems.
Replacement cells and tissues may be used to treat brain disease such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's by replenishing damaged tissue and by bringing back the specialized brain cells that keep unneeded muscles from moving.
Cell deficiency therapy is also available. This is the replacement of cells into a damaged organ or system in hopes that the undifferentiated cells will eventually renew the system/organ so that it is fully functioning.
eg- people with type I diabetes may receive pancreatic cells to replace the insulin-producing cells that have been lost or destroyed by the patient's own immune system.
Adult hematopoietic stem cells found in blood and bone marrow have been used for years for treatment against blood diseases such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and other immunodeficiencies. These cells are capable of producing all blood cell types, such as red blood cells that carry oxygen to white blood cells that fight disease. Difficulties arise in the extraction of these cells through the use of invasive bone marrow transplants. However hematopoietic stem cells have also been found in the umbilical cord and placenta.
This brings us to what cord blood stem cells are, where they are found, how they are extracted and why they are so important for our future generation :)
Fig. 1 Stem Cell <www.syntheticbio.blogspot.com>
Cord blood is drawn from the umbilical cord and the placenta after a baby has been born.
It’s a painless procedure for both the mother and the child that only takes a few minutes.
Cord blood has been proven to be rich in adult stem cells (the earliest stem cells created by the human body), which can be used in the child’s life later on in medical therapies such as stem cell transplantation or regenerative medicine.
Preserved cord blood represents a significant new method of rebuilding a person’s blood system.
It also holds great potential in the field of regenerative medicine as stem cells can now be grown and transformed into specialized cells with characteristics separate of their origins.
With all of the regenerative research, studies, and experimentation there is no doubt that one day scientists will be able to grow tissues and organs at ease and will be able to transplant without the risk of rejection itself.
What are they ?
Cord blood is extracted immediately after the child is born.
The umbilical cord is clamped and cut and then the technician cannulates the vein of the severed cord using a needle connected to a special cryogenic blood bag in which the cord blood flows through the needle into the bag.
About seventy five millimeters of cord blood is collected.
The blood is immediately shipped to either a public or private cord blood bank where it is then cryopreserved so it can be stored for as long as is needed until future transplantation.
How does extraction work??
By extracting and storing cord blood one can be assured that their child will receive the best and most effective treatments should they become ill in the future.
Cord blood transplants have been successful in the treatment of more than seventy life-threatening diseases since its first successful transplant in 1988.
It is also the only kind of stem cell that can be extracted without any pain or harm to the mother or child.
Harvesting cord blood would effectively cut down on the time, cost, and inconvenience of extracting stem cells from a living donor.
They are also able to engraft better than those derived from other sources such as bone marrow making them a better choice overall.
Cord blood stem cells can be used on more than just the child from which the blood was extracted from.
It can effectively be used on siblings and relatives provided there is a match.
Cord blood stem cells can be used for more than transplantations.
They can be used towards research of the nature of hematopietic stem cells and can work towards the success and findings of regenerative science.
What better way to increase scientific findings than with cells that can be easily and readily extracted?
Also, the more people invest in the extraction of umbilical cord blood stem cells, the more probability there is for a match, especially for the future generations to come.
Infant stem cells contain many combinations of human leukocyte antigen groups.
This means that with stem cell transplantation, typing these antigens ensures a match between recipient cells and potential donor cells.
This is especially important for the success of transplantation and the protection against rejection.
Finally, by extracting and storing cord blood you cut down on the waste of perfectly good stem cells.
In every umbilical cord and placenta there are thousands of perfectly ready stem cells.
When we do not extract them, they are going to waste.
Why extract and store core blood??
· Metabolic Diseases like Gangliosidosis, Gaucher’s Disease, and Hunter’s Syndrome
· Immune Deficiency Diseases like Omenn Syndrome and Severe Combined Immune Deficiency
· Rescue after Bone Marrow Transplant Failure (Amyloidosis, Breast Cancer, Lupus)
· Other Malignancies (Neuroblastoma)

· Clinical trial/experimentation (Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type I Juvenile Diabetes, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, Strokes, Heart Disease, Liver Disease, Muscular Dystrophy etc.)
· Much research is being done to see if stem cells can be used to treat more problems. For now, though, treatment is limited to diseases that affect the blood cells
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