Cord Stem Cell Banking
Cord Stem Cells
Cord Stem Cells Banking is still in the research phase. The key to maximizing the full potential for your family’s future is the careful preservation of all the stem cells within the cord regions. Cord stem cells are different from cord blood, and work differently to heal the body. The whole cord is an abundant source of multipotent Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) and Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs).
Research indicates that these cord stem cells from the umbilical cord itself have the unique ability to rapidly regenerate and differentiate themselves into various tissues and organ cells. No medical treatments are currently available today using stem cells extracted from cord tissue. However, the increasing number of clinical trials conducted worldwide has led researchers to believe that cord stem cells can one day treat various conditions such as damaged tissue, ligaments and organs, vascular damage and wounds, burns and ulcers, among others. Early results of trials are reported to be promising.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are found in the cord Wharton’s Jelly, the bone marrow, Adipose (fat) tissue and tooth pulp. Unlike HSCs, MSCs regenerate structural and connective tissues. It differentiates into bone, cartilage, fat, heart, liver, muscle and nerve tissues. They also have immunomodulatory functions that can `correct` an abnormal immune response.
Who can benefit from the use of cord blood and cord stem cells?
A broader range of recipients may benefit from cord blood. These can be stored with StemCord, retrieved and transplanted back to the donor, to the donor’s family member or to an unrelated recipient should the need arise. For a bone marrow transplant to succeed, there must be a nearly perfect match of certain tissue proteins between the donor and the recipient. When stem cells from cord blood are used, the donor cells appear more likely to “take” and engraft, even when there are partial tissue mismatches.
Perfect Match for the Baby
Cord blood are a perfect genetic match for the baby and carry a significant probability of a match in the baby’s siblings, the father, mother, cousins or other family members.
Precious Resource for the Whole Family
One of the most beneficial traits of MSCs from the cord itself is that they can avoid immune systems. While cord blood requires HLA matching, cord tissue derived MSCs do not. This means that your baby’s cord tissue can potentially be used not only his/her siblings but also for you and your parents. Alongside with the potential ability to treat age-related diseases, storing cord tissue stem cells will be an even more precious resource.
The use of cord blood and cord stem cells for transplants may make timely treatment available and more quickly for people who need them. This can be especially crucial for patients with severe cases of leukemia, anemia, or immune deficiency, who would otherwise die before a suitable bone marrow match can be found.
StemCord releases cord blood and cord stem cell units upon 72 hours’ formal notice.
Hope for the Future
Like donated bone marrow, umbilical cord blood can be used to treat a broad range of conditions including anemia, immune disorders, leukemia, lymphomas, various malignancies or genetic disorders. By storing your baby’s umbilical cord blood, and cord stem cells, you can take advantage of today’s medical breakthroughs and tomorrow’s amazing discoveries! (See list of Diseases Currently Treated With Cord Blood Stem Cells).
Moreover, cord blood stem cells offer some exciting possibilities for gene therapy for certain genetic diseases, especially those involving the immune system, and treatments for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and spinal cord injury, among others. (See list of Future Potential of Stem Cells.)
What is cord stem cell banking?
Cord stem cell banking is a recent development in the world of stem cells. Rather than simply collecting and preserving cord blood from the umbilical cord, the entire umbilical cord and cord stem cells are harvested, processed and stored for its multipotency. The chance to store cord stem cells on a research/clinical trial* basis so that you and your family stand poised to tap on the next scientific breakthrough.
*The banking and storage of cord stem cells is not licensed by the Singapore Ministry of Health as this is provided on a research/clinical trial basis.
*For some patients, clinical trials represent an avenue for receiving promising new therapies that would not otherwise be available. Patients with difficult-to-treat or currently “incurable” diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or spinal cord injuries may want to pursue participation in clinical research trials if standard therapies are not effective. Clinical research trials are sometimes life-saving.
Who performs the cord blood and cord stem cell collection?
Umbilical cord blood and cord stem cells are collected by the physician or midwife simultaneously after the safe delivery of your baby and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. The collection may occur before or after the delivery of the placenta. You will need to discuss your desire to collect your baby’s umbilical cord blood and cord stem cells with your obstetrician during your prenatal care. The delivering physician will have absolute discretion as to whether or not the cord blood and cord stem cells are collected and will not be obliged, in any way, to proceed with the collection if she/he determines that other clinical priorities exist.
What if my OB has never collected cord blood or cord stem cells before?
Before your expected delivery date, StemCord will arrange for a representative to meet with your OB to demonstrate the step-by-step procedure for cord blood and/or cord stem cell collection and provide clear, concise written instructions and/or a training video on StemCord’s collection procedure(s). We will also provide you and your OB a list of our 24/7 service support mobile numbers to use if any other concerns arise before, during and after your delivery. Our medical-technical representatives can likewise coordinate with your OB to perform and/or assist in the actual cord blood collection at no extra cost to you. We are dedicated to the success of your cord blood collection and are committed to saving lives.
How much cord blood needs to be collected to be viable?
StemCord offers both the bag and syringe collection methods, which gives the obstetrician a choice to use the method she/he prefers. Most physicians find the blood bag method more convenient. There is a minimum of 40mL of cord blood to be collected to ensure its viability. However, we advise your physician, nurse, midwife, or other childbirth professional to fill the collection bag/syringe with as much cord blood as possible or to collect until such time that blood flow into the container has stopped. The key to a successful cord blood collection is in the adequate volume collected.
Who should consider storing umbilical cord and/or cord blood?
Following the birth of a baby, the umbilical cord is usually discarded along with the placenta. However, it is now known that the umbilical cord is a rich source of pluripotent haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Until recently, the umbilical cord, cord blood, together with the extremely useful HSCs and MSCs, is thrown away as clinical waste products.
Storing cord blood is suitable for every mother unless your obstetrician has cautioned you of a difficult or complicated pregnancy. Expectant parents with a family history of genetic diseases such as severe anemias, immune disorders, or some cancers, may want to consider the family benefit of storing cord blood. It is also particularly useful and advisable for small or single child families, pregnant women over 35 years old, sub-fertile couples, couples of different races, and for the first born child.
Does cord blood and cord collection hurt or pose any risk to the mother or baby?
The cord blood and cord collection procedure is simple, painless, poses no risk or discomfort to the mother or child and does not interfere with the birthing process. It is performed with the utmost care and usually takes less than 5 minutes to collect. It can be performed in vaginal and caesarian deliveries, for single or for multiple births. The volume of blood collected is small and negligible that does not affect the baby’s blood circulation or “bleed” the mother.
How long can stored cord blood and cord remain viable?
The New York Health Dept. guidelines for cord blood banking state that umbilical stem cells can be stored indefinitely under liquid nitrogen. The policy states, “There is no evidence at present that cells stored at -196°C in an undisturbed manner lose either in-vitro determined viability or biologic activity. Therefore, at the current time, no expiration date need be assigned to cord blood stored continuously under liquid nitrogen.” All science involving cryogenic storage of cells also indicates that cells should remain viable indefinitely.
Since then, cord blood stem cells from related and unrelated donors have been successfully transplanted in over 10,000 individuals worldwide.
Diseases Currently Treated with Stem Cells
Cord Blood Stem Cell Treatments
Today, thousands of cord blood stem cell transplants have taken place around the world to treat more than 70 diseases. The list continues to grow as research advances. These include:
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
- Burkitt’s Lymphoma
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
- Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML)
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
- Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis
Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome
- Severe Aplastic Anemia
- Diamond-Blackfan Anemia
- Dyskeratosis Congenita
- Fanconi Anemia
- Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia
- Kostmann’s Syndrome
Hemoglobinopathies Blood Disorders
- Sickle-Cell Anemia
- Thalassemia (Cooley’s Anemia)
Inborn Errors of Metabolism
- Batten Disease (Inherited Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis)
- Gunther Disease
- Hunter Syndrome
- Hurler Syndrome
- Krabbe Disease (Global Cell Leukodystrophy)
- Lesch-Nyhan Disease
- Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome
- Omenn’s Syndrome
- Severe Combined Immunoeficiency (SCID or SCID – ADA)
- Reticular Dysplasia
- Thymic Dysplasia
- Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome
- X-linked Lymphoproliferative Disease
- Leukocyte-Adhesion Deficiency
- Evans Syndrome
- Familial Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis
- EBV-assoc. Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis
Cord Stem Cells Treatments
- Liver cirrhosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sports injuries (cartilage)
- Heart diseases
Future Potential of Stem Cells
With its potential to become different tissue types for regenerative therapy, stem cells hold significant promise and hope for the treatment of some of the most common life threatening diseases such as:
- Heart diseases
- Spinal cord injuries
- Kidney diseases
- Liver diseases
- Muscular dystrophy
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Bone regeneration
- Skin and tissue regeneration for burn victims