Cord blood stem cells have already been used in treating over 20,000 patients for a wide range of diseases, including types of leukemia and immune system illnesses. Cord blood stem cell treatment is still considered experimental and scientists continue to research its uses in treating other diseases like cerebral palsy, stroke, and diabetes. As further scientific breakthroughs are made, the potential for using cord blood stem cells to treat a variety of diseases and conditions may continue to increase. The first documented clinical use of cord blood stem cells was in the successful treatment of a six-year-old boy afflicted by Fanconi anemia in 1988. Since then, cord blood banking has become increasingly recognized as a source of stem cells that can be used in stem cell therapy.
Recent studies have shown that cord blood has unique advantages over traditional bone marrow transplantation, particularly in children, and can be life-saving in rare cases where a suitable bone-marrow donor cannot be found. Approximately 50% of patients requiring a bone marrow transplant will not find a suitable donor within a critical period. In certain instances, there may be some medical issues around using one’s own cells drawn from their cord blood storage, as well as availability of cells, which will require treatments done using cells from another donor, with the vast majority being unrelated donors. However, studies have shown that stem cells from cord blood banking can also be used for siblings and other members of the family who have a matching tissue type. Siblings have up to a 75% chance of compatibility, and the cord blood may even be a match for parents (50%) and grandparents.
Parents often ask what a cord blood Collection Kit exactly is. A collection kit stores and protects cord blood for delivery to a cord blood bank. These kits vary from bank to bank, and they commonly feature temperature stabilizers, reinforced casings that provide breakage protection, and specialized collection bags for containing cord blood. It’s important to take your kit with you to the hospital, as the staff there will not provide you with one should you forget to bring it. With regards to choosing a reputable bank, it is important to take the time to consider these key questions: Has the bank registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and met all necessary state regulatory requirements? Is it accredited? How does the bank store cord blood? How experienced is the cord blood bank? Is the cord blood bank financially stable and profitable? Ask the bank you’re considering what it would do with your cord blood if the company went out of business. Look for a company with a reasonable plan to accommodate customers. For additional information, visit www.cordbloodadvantage.com to learn more.