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Life Line: Cord Blood Banking: A Detailed Look At The “Medical Miracle” Of The Future

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

While there is lots of talk and controversy surrounding the notion of stem cell research, modern science has given us, or rather parents another promising yet controversy-“free” breakthrough in the medicine and the field of cryogenics.

Cryogenics as defined by a host of dictionaries is: the production of low temperatures or the study of low-temperature phenomena. And, now the medical science industry has taken and applied that concept to cord blood.

Scientists and medical professionals alike are encouraging parents to bank their child’s cord blood, which is essentially the collection of stem cells, gathered from the umbilical cord, upon birth, and having them stored for possible future usage in helping the family to battle or treat disease.

According to the experts this procedure has been proven effective since its inception back in 1983. At that time the first ever cord blood transplant took place for a youngster diagnosed with Faconi Anemia, (a genetic disease characterized by a short stature, skeletal abnormalities, increased occurrence of solid tumors and leukemias, bone marrow failure (aplitic anemia) and cellular sensitivity to DNA damaging agents), took place. And, the child who received his sister’s cord blood is still alive and thriving today.

The procedure basically extracts stem cells from the umbilical cord, previously thought of and discarded as waste, and stores them in specialized laboratories at 196 degrees Celcius, a temperature that will preserve the cord blood, according to the experts for decades. In fact recent research revealed that cord blood thawed after 15 years was still 99 percent viable.

Stem cells explain those in the field are those cells that are considered master cells and have the ability to regenerate into different types of cells including heart, muscle or nerve cells. And, they are typically present in an embryo’s peripheral blood and in the umbilical cord.

Experts note that cord blood banking is recommended for each individual born within a family primarily because each baby/person has his or her own tissue type. And, they add, in the case of twins, it’s highly recommended that cord blood is collected from both in an effort to maximize the number of stem cells collected.

They add that the cord blood, if privately banked is an excellent match for the child from which it was collected. This, known as an autologous transplant (meaning using one’s own cells) is 50 to 75% viable as a match for a parent and 25-50% viable as a match to a sibling.

The variation in match percentages is due, say experts, to the fact aht you don’t need a perfect match for cord blood (match the HLA tissue types) Cord blood, they say is a very immature cell and has yet to be exposed to the environment and viruses to the extend of adult stem cells. And, experts see lower rejection rates with cord blood because of this fact, as well as greater tolerance to mismatches. However, they note that (currently) cord blood taken from the umbilical cord, are only enough for a person weighing up to 140 pounds.

Most currently say experts the cord blood stem cells are being primarily used in transplant medicine to restore a patients’ blood making and immune systems. They note that typically, chemotherapy and radiation are used to kill the diseased cells. As the stem cells engraft, the body begins to regenerate new blood cells and restore the immune system.

And, they further suggest that these same stem cells will be used in the future to treat other illnesses and ailments including, among others, diabetes. However, research suggests that they would have to be transplanted soon after diagnosis for the best results.

Banking cord blood costs approximately $1200-$2000 for the first year, followed by an annual storage fee of between $90 to $125 starting the second years.

For more information you can contact the professionals at lifelinecryocenics.com

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Life Line: Cord Blood Banking: A Detailed Look At The “Medical Miracle” Of The Future

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