Umbilical cord blood - why keep it?
In some maternity hospitals, a new service - taking the cord blood for storage.Should this service is not cheap - a few thousand dollars, followed by an annual payment of blood storage.Does it makes sense to save cord blood?
What is umbilical cord blood and for which it is collected
Umbilical cord blood - blood that is collected from the umbilical cord after ligation of its parent segment and placenta.A special feature of this blood is that there are many so-called stem cells Stem cells: on the edge of scandal .Stem cells are the basis from which later formed red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes).
keep such blood just in case it is stored frozen in special cord blood banks for all human life.Umbilical cord blood may be useful, for example, the development of a child's leukemia - cancer associated with the uncontrolled multiplication of immature blood cells.One way to treat this disease is to eliminate using special methods such chemotherapeutic "spoiled" cells and administering to the infant donor bone marrow cells, ie bone marrow transplant.
itself is a bone marrow transplant procedure is simple - it is made using a dropper.But the fact is that it is very difficult to find a suitable donor, whose blood will be fully compatible with the patient's blood.Suitable usually blood relatives, and then not always.
Using taken during childbirth umbilical cord blood may in this case not only to help the child, but also his close relatives.But this method is not yet fully developed and has not been studied.In the future, perhaps a large selection of cord blood may help us choose the blood, is fully compatible with the blood of the patient, if they overcome some of the difficulties in applying this technique.
What hinders widespread use of cord blood to treat leukemia
It would seem, what obstacles there may arise when introduced its own cells?Especially since they contain a lot of young, active stem cells that retain the ability to regenerate?
turns out, there are obstacles.Practice has shown that stem cells from umbilical cord blood ripen more slowly than the stem cells derived from adult blood donor.Sometimes it makes it very difficult to treat the child as using the pre-treatment of his blood had been destroyed almost all the white blood cells and platelets Platelets - what they are for the body? .Such a child is absolutely defenseless against any infection and may die from bleeding for any scratches or bruises.
So many hematologists are wary of the use of cord blood as a substitution therapy.However, the method is a perspective, and possibly subsequently developed leukemia therapies using cord blood.
So maybe it makes sense to store umbilical cord blood for a person's entire life.Today, being developed on the use of umbilical cord blood in the treatment of other diseases: cancers, systemic connective tissue diseases (such as scleroderma Scleroderma - affects all organs , lupus), autoimmune disorders, stroke, multiple sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis -whether it is possible in remission? , Alzheimer's disease and so on.But all this is still under investigation.
How to harvest and store cord blood
Cord blood is collected immediately after the ligation of the umbilical cord of her mother and the segment from a placenta with a syringe and placed in a special container, which contains a sterile solution of the substance, warning clotting (anticoagulant).After that, the blood throughout the day falls in cord blood bank, where her first check for infections, and then remove the excess plasma and red blood cells, almost all - a concentrate.
concentrate initially investigated by laboratory methods to detect cell viability, and then frozen and stored for the entire life.In addition to the main part of the frozen cord blood is saved as a small amount of blood for laboratory tests, if the blood does not need a man himself, and his close relatives.In this case blood is always checked for compatibility.
Banking cord blood can be personal (registered) that stores umbilical cord blood of certain people, which can then be used at their discretion.In addition, there are cord blood banks, where it is stored donor blood used in the future for medicinal purposes to treat different patients.
use of cord blood to treat - is not yet fully learned the method, but it has a lot of chances to become in the future is very promising.