The discovery of using umbilical cord blood stem cells for treating disease has lead to important breakthroughs in science. Tests have proven that these stem cells help cure some of the most severe and fatal diseases. Before you try this treatment, it is important to gather all the information. Therefore, check out the umbilical cord stem cells pros and cons below and find out what we know so far.
Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells: How They Work
1. The Discovery
— Amer Acad Pediatrics (@AmerAcadPeds) October 30, 2017
Technology has paved the way for making umbilical cords — usually discarded after childbirth — useful. Studies conducted in the ’80s revealed that blood extracted from umbilical cords contain hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells can replicate cells found in blood and can treat blood-borne diseases. Therefore, the umbilical cord is now considered an alternative source of stem cells outside of the usual bone marrow extraction.
2. The Benefits
Umbilical cord blood could slow brain’s ageing, study suggests https://t.co/zZerFvAs0d
— EarlNash (@EarlNash) October 13, 2017
As of 2009, umbilical cord blood stem cell medication has treated around 70 diseases. These diseases include severe cases of leukemia, lymphoma, and anemia. Around 6,000 patients successfully underwent treatment in 2009 using this new discovery. Consequently, medical experts are now looking into the possibility of utilizing stem cells to treat diseases other than those which affect the blood.
3. The Advantages
Extraction of stem cells from the umbilical cord offers relief from the painful bone marrow donation process. Preparation of umbilical cord blood stem cells is also cheaper than its bone marrow counterpart, because it’s done outside a donor’s body. Umbilical cords are also considered ‘clean,’ which decreases the risk of transmitting diseases to stem cell recipients. Lastly, our bodies are less likely to reject umbilical cord blood stem cells during transplants due to fewer natural killer cells.
4. The Disadvantages
However, umbilical cords, produce fewer stem cells compared to bone marrow. Apart from the volume, the properties of umbilical cord blood stem cells make recovery of recipients slower. While umbilical cords are clean, they’re not free from genetic disorders that may be passed onto the recipients. Researchers have also yet to figure out how long these stem cells will last when frozen and stored in blood banks.
Lately, doctors have created various medical institutes specifically to collect stem cells. Here’s a video from Wall Street Journal that shows how umbilical cord blood stem cells are being stored and studied in a New York facility:
Medical practitioners have yet to discover the full potential of these stem cells. For now, researchers continue to study umbilical cord blood stem cells pros and cons and explore the benefits this medical breakthrough can provide.
Are you interested in trying treatment using umbilical cord blood stem cells? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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