Viability Of Cord Blood In Treating Malignant Diseases

Published: June 26, 2007  |  Source: americanchronicle.com
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Having the capability of creating life-forming cells, cord blood has emerged as one of the most extraordinary discoveries in the past 2 decades. The process of cord blood banking is a highly specialized procedure that is taken up after the delivery of the placenta. Numerous positive outcomes have emerged in multiple cord blood cell transplants over the years and this is why medical practitioners are prioritizing the collection of these stem cells. Patients who are suffering from leukemia, liver disorders, heart attacks, some types of blindness, immune system disorders, diabetes, spinal cord damages etc, get relief from their severe conditions after cord blood cells are transplanted to them.

Cord Blood Vs Bone Marrow

Practitioners have made use of the umbilical cord blood collected in several life threatening diseases that had earlier treatment options like drugs and radiation treatments, often a combination of both. Later, bone marrow transplants came as another alternative treatment to medicines, radiation and chemotherapy, though the later are still used in several cases. Painful extraction and application of bone marrow stem cells is one of the major disadvantages of bone marrow transplants. Moreover, the availability of the right donor is an issue most patients and their doctors struggle with. With cord blood in the picture, patients can be their own donors! The nature of the stem cells extracted from cord blood makes it even more valuable.

Stem cells drained from the umbilical cords of babies can develop any type of cells required to cure certain types of diseases and decrease the incidence of graft versus host disease in transplants. One disadvantage, however, is the cord blood quantity, which is undoubtedly less than what patients can get in bone marrow.

Success Stories

Following are some of the case histories of cord blood cell treatments, that reinforce the importance of cord blood collection –

Adult Leukemia

Benefits of cord blood preservation in treating childhood leukemia have been evident in the primitive period of its uses. Now treatments of adult leukemia with these cells have shown success as well. A patient, Stephan Sprague was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in 1995 and had been treated with chemotherapy for about seventeen years. Later, in April 1997, when he reached the final stage, he considered a clinical trial of cord blood cell treatment. After starting a cord blood cell transplant in November 1997, he went to become cancer free within 9 years.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A team of cord blood cell researchers transplanted stem cells to a thirty seven year old woman who was undergoing a spinal cord injury. Even after being paralyzed for about 19 years, she showed fast recovery. She was injected cord blood cells right at the particular area of injury in her spine. Within three weeks of transplantation, progress was noteworthy. She started walking with a little support and today she claims to walk without any assistance.

Krabbe Disease

Researchers of Duke University and University of North Carolina from Chapel Hill claimed to show outstanding progress in treating this disease with cord blood cells. Researchers state that newborn cord blood cell recipients, with no symptoms of Krabbe disease, have greater possibility of recovery than older babies.

Instances abound of the success of cord blood stem cells in treating various disorders. Cord blood Preservation may sound expensive initially, but one cannot deny the potential a single unit of cord blood possesses. There will soon be a day when diseases such as Lymphoproliferative disease, Thalassemia and Fanconi Anemia will no longer be difficult to cure.

Cord blood stem cells can treat various malignant diseases like adult leukemia, spinal cord injuries, Krabbe disease and thalassemia. Success stories have emerged in areas where multiple cord blood cell transplants are needed. Doctors are prioritizing the collection of umbilical cord stem cells. This is one of the reasons why more and more people are opting for cord blood storage in a cord blood bank. Cord Blood Banking offers more information on cord blood preservation, tips for selecting right cord blood bank and costs of cord blood banking.

Saurabh Jain