Our second arrival is due in around four weeks’ time. I’ve been keeping an open mind when it comes to a birth plan, but one thing I know we’ll do is stem cell banking. Check out our video on why we’ve made this decision with the help of Future Health Biobank, and an outline of exactly what collections are available and why it’s becoming such a popular decision for many parents.
What is stem cell banking?
Stem cell banking is the collection and preservation of potentially life saving stem cells for future use in therapies and regenerative medicine. Stem cell collection is un-intrusive, safe and completely risk free.
Current research has shown that cord blood stored, thawed and used after 28 years is still viable and of therapeutic value.
Whilst research is still underway to determine the maximum storage period, experts strongly believe umbilical cord blood stem cells could be stored indefinitely.
What can stem cells do?
Stem cells can be used to treat many diseases and conditions while repairing damaged tissue and organs. To date, 85 diseases including leukaemias, bone marrow cancer, lymphomas and anaemias can be treated via therapy or transplant.
How are stem cells collected?
The main ways to collect stem cells are via umbilical cord blood and cord tissue and dental pulp. It’s these rich sources that are jam-packed with the right cells required for future treatments. This is because, a bit like Doctor Who, stem cells are able to regenerate and develop into many different forms.
What is cord blood banking?
This is the process of collecting and storing the stem cells from the blood in the umbilical cord. Cord blood banking happens in the third stage of labour, which begins once baby is born and ends once the placenta is out. These stem cells are used to treat blood disorders.
The process of cord blood banking does not interrupt your birth plan, and happens once you and baby are comfortable. Stem cells taken from your umbilical cord are the perfect match for that child, with a 1 in 4 chance of a sibling match.
What is cord tissue banking?
This is the process of collecting and storing the tissues from the umbilical cord. This is an important addition to cord blood banking as different stem cells can be harvested. By collecting both cord tissue and cord blood, you’re safeguarding your child from a wider range of diseases and conditions in their future.
What is Dental Pulp Banking?
The dental pulp within milk teeth contain your child’s own unique cells, meaning they are a perfect match and carry a significant probability of a match for other members of the family too. They can be held as a type of biological insurance, which one day might help to save their life should they ever contract a serious illness or medical condition.
Mesenchymal stem cells that may be present within dental pulp, could play an important part in repair and regeneration treatments for diseases such as: Arthritis, Muscular dystrophy, Neurogenerative diseases & Myocardial infarctions.
The stem cells from Dental pulp are similar to those found in cord tissue so may be used in a similar way, they are not however comparable to cord blood so would be unable to treat illnesses in the same way.
Medical professionals and scientists alike believe stem cells will play a huge role in the future of regenerative medicine, including treatments for diseases that are currently incurable – such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They also believe stem cells will eventually have the ability to develop into entire organs.