Stem cell banking or preservation is the extraction, processing and storage of stem cells, so that they may be used for treatment in the future, when required.
Stem cells have the amazing power to transform into any tissue or organ in your body. It is due to this unique characteristic that they have the potential to treat over 80 life threatening diseases, and provide numerous benefits to the baby, its siblings and the family.
Addition to other sources, cord blood stem cells have been successfully used to treat numerous diseases, including cancers (leukemia, lymphomas, myelomas), blood disorders (thalassemias, sickle cell anemia, Fanconi’s anemia), and immune deficiency diseases. Recently, cord blood stem cells have been used in clinical trials to repair damaged tissues and organs (regenerative medicine), and the outcomes have been promising. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are younger and more primitive. Cord blood has the same types of stem cells as those found in bone marrow. The cells in cord blood can be used as an alternative to bone marrow stem cells to save the lives of patients.
In comparison to other types of stem cells obtained from other sources, e.g. bone marrow and peripheral blood, umbilical cord stem cells are able to grow healthy blood stem cells at a faster rate and are also more tolerant to HLA mismatches.
Cord blood contains a rich source of blood-forming stem cells, known as Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs).
Cord blood can only be collected at birth but the life saving potential of these valuable cells can last a lifetime. More importantly, cord blood stem cells from a family member are better for transplant to a patient than stem cells from an unrelated donor and this could be the most significant factor contributing to a full recovery.