Banking Cord Blood and Cord Tissue: How does it work, and what does it mean for me and my baby?
Cord blood transplants have been around for more than 30 years1 with Cord blood being used in over 40,000 transplants2 globally, but parents are still learning about the life-long benefits of banking their baby’s precious Cord Blood and Cord Tissue.
As parents, we will do anything in our power to protect the health of our children – banking Cord Blood and Cord Tissue does not only protect your child but also other immediate family members. By better understanding, the benefits, process and potential of stem cell research, parents can make an informed decision to protect the future of their loved ones.
In this blog, we cover some key questions for parents about Cord Blood and Cord Tissue banking, and why storing both gives you the best chance to make a real difference.
Cord Blood and Cord Tissue – what’s the difference?
Cord blood is the blood found in the baby’s umbilical cord, it is a rich source of Haemopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) these stem cells can differentiate into other blood cells in the body and are clinically proven to be used in the treatment of more than 80 diseases3, such as some blood cancers and immune disorders.
Cord tissue refers to the actual umbilical cord and contains a rich source of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). These stem cells have the potential to develop into a wide range of cells and tissues, such as bone, heart, nerve, muscle cornea, fat and cartilage tissues. MSCs are currently used in clinical research to treat a variety of diseases and medical conditions4, including liver cirrhosis, strokes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. StemCord cultures these MSCs from the umbilical cord tissue and stores them as Cord Stem Cells.
Do I really need to store both Cord Blood and Cord Tissue?
Today’s research has indicated that banking both Cord Blood and Cord Tissue (Cord Stem Cells) works differently to heal the body, by having both types of stem cells stored ultimately increases the types of cells that you have available, which can be used for different purposes5.
Both Cord Blood and Cord Stem Cells work differently to heal the body, storing both provides your baby and your loved ones with biological insurance to protect your family’s health in the future, should you need it. Scientific research into both medical applications is ongoing, and new breakthroughs are being found regularly to improve and potentially save lives.
Who can use the Cord Blood and Cord Tissue that is stored? What can they use it for?
While non-related donor Stem Cells can be utilised, it is generally accepted that related donors – especially siblings – have better long-term outcomes. This means that Cord Blood from a related donor will result in fewer complications and thus improved medical outcomes6. If your child needs their own Stem Cells in the future, they will be a 100% match as there is no risk of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and no need for the patient to undergo immunosuppressive therapy.
Your child’s Cord blood stem cells have the potential to treat a wide range of blood-related cancers and blood disorders. Some of the approved treatments include Sickle Cell Diseases, Leukemia, a host of Lymphomas, and more. Researchers also believe that cord blood stem cells may be used to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Strokes, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and more.
There are new uses being discovered regularly for Cord stem cells, but each instance is potentially treated on a case by case basis, and your treating physician will ultimately determine the ideal treatment plan for the patient’s needs. See the full list of treatments here
Does it really matter how it is stored?
In short, yes. While many cord blood banks choose to store the umbilical cord as a whole or in segments, StemCord takes the extra step by culturing the Cord tissue stem cells before storage, which has been shown to increase cell yield eight times more7 than cells yielded from segmented frozen tissues. Culturing stem cells from cord tissue before cryopreservation gives the highest possible yield should you need to use your banked stem cells in the future.
Beyond this, StemCord also provides two bag storage by keeping your child’s Cord Blood in two separate locations. This provides families with an option to use just one bag if needed while keeping the remainder safe and ready for additional future use. By keeping the Cord Blood in two locations, StemCord ensures added security and peace of mind for you.
Storing your child’s cord blood stem cells is a once-in-a-life opportunity, which many can consider as a form of biological insurance – you may never use it, but in case of a disease that can be treated with the stored stem cells, your child’s range of treatment options are broader.
Find out more about how your baby’s umbilical cord blood has the potential to save lives. Download our FREE Cord Blood Banking E-book HERE.
7 Briddell R, Litkenhaus F, Foertsch G, Fuhrmann A, Foster K, Falcon Girard K, Fiscus B, Boehm A, Brown M, Pettit M, Rigas Bridges A, Nichols K, Fodor W and Kraus M. Recovery of viable MSCs isolated from fresh umbilical cord tissue, measured after cryopreservation, is on average 8-fold higher when compared to recovery of viable MSCs isolated from previously cryopreserved umbilical cord tissue. Study sponsored by ViaCord. ASH Abstract submitted 2011 Aug. 11.