Explained Stem Cell Banking Cord Blood Banking Benefits of Cord Blood Banking
In US cord blood banking is regulated
With a shelf life of 21 years, stem cells are seen as a form of health insurance.
What is Stem Cell Banking?
What is Cord Blood Banking?
What is umbilical cord blood stem cell banking?
About Cord Blood?
What is Cord Blood?
After a baby is born, cord blood is left in the umbilical cord and placenta. It is relatively easy to collect, with no risk to the mother or baby. It contains haematopoietic (blood) stem cells: rare cells normally found in the bone marrow.
Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can make every type of cell in the blood – red cells, white cells and platelets. They are responsible for maintaining blood production throughout our lives. They have been used for many years in bone marrow transplants to treat blood diseases.
Another type of cell that can also be collected from umbilical cord blood are mesenchymal stromal cells.
These cells can grown into bone, cartilage and other types of tissues and are being used in many research studies to see if patients could benefit from these cells too.
Umbilical cord blood can be collected and stored in a cord blood bank either in public and private cord blood banks
Meaning and Definition of Stem Cell?
A stem cell is a generic cell that can make exact copies of itself indefinitely.
A stem cell has the ability to make specialized cells for various tissues in the body, such as heart muscle, brain tissue, and liver tissue.
Stem cells can be saved and used later to make specialized cells, when needed.
There are two basic types of stem cells:
Embryonic stem cells - these are taken from aborted fetuses or fertilized eggs that are left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF).
They are useful for medical and research purposes because they can produce cells for almost every tissue in the body.
Embryonic stem cells exist only at the earliest stages of embryonic development and go on to form all the cells of the adult body. In humans, these cells no longer exist after about five days of development.
When removed and grown in a lab dish these stem cells can continue dividing indefinitely, retaining the ability to form the more than 200 adult cell types. Because the cells have the potential to form so many different adult tissues they are also called pluripotent
("pluri" = many, "potent" = potentials) stem cells.
Pluripotent means many (pluri) potentials (potent).
In other words, these cells have the potential of taking on many fates in the body, including all of the more than 200 different cell types.
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, as are iPS cells that are reprogrammed from adult tissues. When scientists talk about pluripotent stem cells they mostly mean either embryonic or iPS cells.
James Thomson, a professor of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin, isolated the first human embryonic stem cells in 1998.
He now shares a joint appointment at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
What is an iPS cell?
An induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell is a cell taken from any tissue from a child or adult that has been genetically modified to behave like an embryonic stem cell. As the name implies, these cells are pluripotent, which means that they have the ability to form all adult cell types.
Shinya Yamanaka at the Kyoto University in Japan created the first iPS cell from a mouse in 2006. Yamanaka now has an appointment at the David J. Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. In 2007 several groups of researchers including Yamanaka and James Thomson from the University of Wisconsin and University of California, Santa Barbara developed human iPS cells.
What is an adult stem cell?
Adult stem cells - these are not as versatile for research purposes because they are specific to certain cell types, such as blood, intestines, skin, and muscle. The term "adult stem cell" may be misleading because both children and adults have them.
All stem cells, whether they are tissue stem cells or pluripotent cells, have the ability to divide and create an identical copy of themselves.
This process is called self-renewal.
The cells can also divide to form cells that go on to develop into mature tissue types such as liver, lungs, brain, or skin.
What people commonly call adult stem cells are more accurately called tissue-specific stem cells. These are specialized cells found in tissues of adults, children and fetuses.
They are thought to exist in most of the body’s tissues such as the blood, brain, liver, intestine or skin.
These cells are committed to becoming a cell from their tissue of origin, but they still have the broad ability to become any one of these cells. Stem cells of the bone marrow, for example, can give rise to any of the red or white cells of the blood system.
Stem cells in the brain can form all the neurons and support cells of the brain, but can’t form non-brain tissues. Unlike embryonic stem cells, researchers have not been able to grow adult stem cells indefinitely in the lab.
In recent years, scientists have found stem cells in the placenta and in the umbilical cord of newborn infants. Although these cells come from a newborn they are like adult stem cells in that they are already committed to becoming a particular type of cell and can’t go on to form all tissues of the body. The cord blood cells that some people bank after the birth of a child are a form of adult blood-forming stem cells.
Irving Weissman of Stanford University School of Medicine isolated the first blood-forming adult stem cell from bone marrow in 1988 in mice and later in humans.
What is a cancer stem cell?
Cancer stem cells are a subpopulation of cancer cells that can self-renew, can propagate the cancer, and differentiate into the many types of cells that are found in a tumor.
Cancer stem cells are a relatively new concept, but they have generated a lot of excitement among cancer researchers because they could lead to the design of more effective cancer therapies.
However, researchers are still debating which types of tumors contain these cells. For those cancers that are propelled by cancer stem cells, those cells are thought to be the source of all cells that make up the cancer.
Conventional cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, may only destroy those cells that form the bulk of the tumor, leaving the cancer stem cells intact and ready to give rise to a recurring tumor. Based on this hypothesis, researchers are trying to find therapies that destroy the cancer stem cells in the hopes that it will improve the chances of treating a patient’s cancer.
John Dick at the University of Toronto identified the first cancer stem cell in 1997. Michael Clarke, then at the University of Michigan, later found the first cancer stem cell in a solid tumor, in this case breast cancer.
Now at Stanford University School of Medicine, Clarke and his group have now found cancer stem cells in colon cancer and head and neck cancers
What is Cord Blood Banking?
What is Stem Cell Banking?
Collection of cord blood takes place shortly after birth.
It can be performed in both normal as well as cesarean (C-section) deliveries
When a baby is born, the blood contained in the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells that can easily be collected with a collection kit.
The physician will first cut the umbilical cord and clamp it on one side, after which he/she will insert a small needle into the umbilical vein and use a syringe to draw blood. Blood also can be collected by hanging a bag below the mother and letting gravity draw the blood down through a tube and into the bag. The blood collection can be done either before or after the mother delivers the placenta.
Parents can choose to collect the cord blood, and either donate the blood to a public cord blood bank or privately store it for their own future use.
The blood is typically cryogenically frozen by cord blood bank
Banking today means your child has the potential to benefit from the advanced therapies of tomorrow.
Cord blood banking is the process of keeping the stem cells freezed and stored in the cord blood bank for future medical use.
The stem cells are usually taken from the umbilical cord and placenta when the baby is born and it is a choice for mothers to choose to want to store her placenta and umbilical cord blood in the cord blood bank
The stem cells found in the umbilical cord and placenta are immature cells that are not fully developed.
It can grow into different types of cells that are in the body depending on how it is being used. Cord blood banking started in the late 1990s and have become popular ever since.
This is an optional choice for the parents to store the stem cells in the cord blood bank and they usually have to inform their doctors as early as 2 months before childbirth
The reason why many people chose cord blood banking is to have an emergency medical help for themselves or their family members.
For example, if the baby gets contracted with an illness such as anemia, leukemia and other blood and immune system diseases, he or she can use the stem cells to treat their disease and get well from their illness.
You can think of cord blood banking as a personal insurance for your health or for your family members where in case any of them falls ill with a disease, you can retrieve the stem cells to be used to treat them instead of waiting for donors help.
Stem cell banking enables us to have stem cells harvested from our own body fat and then stored for our future use – perhaps to help us fight a disease, recover from leukaemia or cancer, rectify organ damage from an accident or just to help us turn back the clock with the latest in anti-aging procedures.
Different Types of Cord Banks
Public Cord Bank
a public blood bank will use donated stem cells for scientific research. They may also be more likely to offer their cord blood to non-relatives who need a transplant.
Donating your baby's umbilical cord blood to a public bank usually means that the blood will not be available for your use at a later time.
Private Cord Bank
Private blood banks charge a fee to keep your cord blood for you.
If you want to use it in future for your body or family needs you should definitely go with a private bank.
They will keep the blood for you, and you can be sure that your baby's blood will be available to any family member who needs it.
Private cord blood banks are not run by the government.
They operate independently. Because of this, they can keep the blood for you and ensure that it can be used BY YOU at a later date.
The Research Public Bank System (or, RPB's)
In the last few years, many Research Public Banks (RPB's) have been established. At these institutions, cord blood is used for research purposes only.
How is cord blood collected?
It literally only takes minutes to save the stem cells in cord blood.
Once the cord is clamped, the cord is wiped with antiseptic and a needle is inserted into one of the veins in the umbilical cord to withdraw a few ounces of blood.
There are two methods of collection in common use.
One is to hang a blood bag lower than the mother and let gravity draw blood down the tube into the bag. This method is used in most countries of the world, because it has the fewest steps, and therefore the fewest opportunities for mistakes or contamination.
The second method is to actively draw the blood out, just like when a person has a blood draw for a medical test. The draw can be done with a standard syringe or with a bulb in the bag tubing that creates suction. Studies have shown that actively drawing the blood will collect a larger volume faster.
How much blood and stem cells does a typical umbilical cord hold?
The median size of cord blood collections in family banks is 60mL or 2 ounces. That small volume of liquid corresponds to 470 million Total Nucleated Cells (TNC) or 1.8 million cells that test positive for the stem cell marker CD34. Thus, most healthy full-term babies have over a million blood-forming stem cells in their umbilical cord blood. By comparison, most public cord blood banks will only keep collections that are much bigger than average, and throw out the donations that are below a threshold of a billion TNC, corresponding to a blood volume of about 90-100 mL or 3 ounces.
If I banked privately for one child, do I need to do it for additional children?
All the reasons that you banked for the first child are still valid for additional children.
1. If you want the baby to have the option of using his/her own cells, then you need to bank them.
2. If you are banking to cover siblings, then the ability to use cord blood from one child for another depends on whether they have matching HLA type. Two full siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match, a 50% chance of being a half match, and a 25% chance of not matching at all. For a cord blood transplant, donor and patient must match at 4 out of 6 (67%) HLA types. The more siblings with banked cord blood, the more chance that they cover each other for possible transplants or other therapies for which sibling stem cells are accepted.
Processing: How is cord blood processed before storage?
The three main components of cord blood, like any blood collection, can be separated by weight: the heaviest layer is the red blood cells (RBC), the lightest is the plasma (a clear white liquid), and in the middle is a pinkish layer called the "buffy coat" which contains the white blood cells (WBC), including stem cells. When banks process the cord blood, the final separated component that goes into storage is the buffy coat, even though only about 1% of the cells are actually stem cells. There is no procedure to separate out the stem cells alone.
The vast majority of blood processing methods rely on the different density of the three main blood components. They can be separated by sedimentation, or by centrifuge, or by a combination of the two techniques. The procedure can be performed manually by trained technicians or by automated machine.
Uses for stem cells
Future Benefits of Stem Cell Cord Cell banking
There are a variety of diseases and injuries in which a patient's cells or tissues are destroyed and must be replaced by tissue or organ transplants. Stem cells may be able to make brand new tissue in these cases, and even cure diseases for which there currently is no good therapy.
Diseases that could be helped by stem cells include Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, and burns.
Stem cells could also be used to gain a better understanding of how genetics work in the early stages of cell development.
This can help scientists understand why some cells develop abnormally and lead to medical problems such as birth defects and cancer. This might help scientists learn how to prevent some of these diseases.
Stem cells may be useful in the testing and development of drugs. Because stem cells can be used to create unlimited amounts of specialized tissue, such as heart tissue, it may be possible to test how drugs react on such tissues before testing the drugs on animals and humans. Drugs could be tested for effectiveness and side effects more rapidly.
Over the last 20 years more than 20,000 patients worldwide have had umbilical cord blood transplants
There are over 130 public cord blood banks in 35 countries;
They are regulated by Governments and adhere to internationally agreed safety, quality and ethical standards
Umbilical cord blood was once discarded as waste material but is now known to be a useful source of blood stem cells. Cord blood has been used to treat children with certain blood diseases since 1989 and research on using it to treat adults is making progress.
Cord blood treatments -
Cord blood is used to treat children with cancerous blood disorders such as leukemia, or genetic blood diseases like Fanconi anaemia.
The cord blood is transplanted into the patient, where the HSCs can make new, healthy blood cells to replace those damaged by the patient’s disease or by a medical treatment such as chemotherapy for cancer.
In this way, cord blood offers a useful alternative to bone marrow transplants for some patients. It is easier to collect than bone marrow and can be stored frozen until it is needed. It also seems to be less likely than bone marrow to cause immune rejection or complications such as Graft versus Host Disease. This means that cord blood does not need to be as perfectly matched to the patient as bone marrow (though some matching is still necessary).
However, cord blood transplants also have limitations. Treatment of adults with cord blood has so far proved to be very challenging, despite some successes. Cord blood can also only be used to treat blood diseases. No therapies for non-blood-related diseases have yet been developed using HSCs from either cord blood or adult bone marrow.
Which Celebrities have opted for stem cell banking?
a)Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan opted for banking Aaradhya's [ her daughter] stem cells
b)Hrithik & Suzanne Roshan
c)Raveena Tandon & Anil
d)actor Sanjay Dutt and his wife Manyata being the latest star couple to opt for stem-cell preservation at the time of the delivery of their twins.
f)Farhan and wife Adhuna Akhtar
Suggested Reading –
History Timeline of Stem Cell Cord Blood Banking
Watch the video about the Cord Blood Banking Process
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Thursday, October 10, 2013
Tags – Stem Cell Banking Cord Cell Banking Explained
10 October 2013
Explained Stem Cell Banking Cord Blood Banking Benefits of Cord Blood Banking