Thursday, 7 June 2012

Stem cell storage: As priceless as your family's health

Stem cell storage is the cryopreservation of a potential graft, for use within the family. It is a preventive action, which may be of priceless value in the future, as priceless as your family's health.
Private storage keeps the valuable stem cells for medical use and seeks to resolve the histocompatibility problem. This problem makes allocation of a life-saving graft costly, time consuming and sometimes impossible, unless it has been stored at the moment of birth.
Storing your child's stem cells can only take place at the moment of birth and can guarantee immediate access to a graft:

- 100 % histocompatible with the infant, from who cord blood was collected
- 25 % possibility for 100% histocompatibility, for each sibling from the same biological parents
It must be made clear that the family has the exclusive legal power to recall the stem cells collected from the infant.

Store the optimal graft

In addition, it can be easily proven that newborn stem cells are the ideal graft for most of the cases. Apart from the fact that cord blood has already been used in 20000 transplant cases, there are specific clinical studies, which indicate that cord blood is at least as effective as bone marrow and in some cases superior, as source of stem cells. More precisely, the following have been observed:
Additional attributes of cord blood stem cells

In addition, we would like to mention about umbilicoplacental blood that:

  • its collection is easy, safe and painless for both mother and infant
  • there is no time delay to find an histocompatible donor in case of autologous transplantation
  • the use of stored stem cells when considered necessary, is immediate.
India's first private cord blood stem cell bank, 'Lifecell' has been launched in Chennai and recently set up in Hyderabad and Bangalore and all major cities.
But it is not only from embryos that stem cells can be gathered and used. There are three sources from which stem cells can be derived- embryonic, adult and umbilical cord.

Lifesaving umbilical cord stem cells.
The umbilical cord, connecting the foetus with the mother is cut at the time of delivery and discarded. Cord blood (the remaining blood in the umbilical cord) is full of 'stem cells' which is the origin of the body's immune and blood system.
Based on this and other successful transplants, doctors and medical researchers began to collect, freeze and store cord blood units at cord banks throughout the world to treat several ailments and save lives.
Research is also going on to treat diseases like stroke, Alzheimer's, multiplesclerosis, lupus and diabetes by transplanting cord blood stem cells.
A bank for cord blood stem cells.
Cord stem cell preservation consists of collecting the 'leftover' umbilical cord blood from the placenta and umbilical cord after the baby is delivered and the cord is cut.
This blood is sent to a bank where it is processed and preserved by freezing them in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -195 degree celsius.
Many clinical studies showed that unrelated cord blood transplantation is safe and is an acceptable alternative to bone marrow transplantation for many patients. However, the studies also found that, as with bone marrow transplants, patients who receive cord blood from siblings or related donors generally have higher survival rates than those who receive cord blood from unrelated donors.
Researchers say that collecting and preserving a baby's cord blood stem cells would be a security blanket for the baby and his family members. In fact, it is estimated that the probability of a need for cord blood stem cells arising within a family is as high as 1/1,500.
Cord stem cell bank in India.
In this backdrop, the launch of a cord stem cell private bank in India assumes great significance. According to Dr Saranya, medical director of 'Lifecell', parents who are expecting a baby can register with the organisation by paying a onetime fee of Rs 59,900.
The family can preserve the cord blood cells from the umbilical cord for 21 years at the private bank, 'Lifecell'. Alternatively, they can pay a sum of Rs 29,000 and a yearly fee of Rs 2,900 for storing the cells for 21 years.

Benefits and advantages of Stem Cell storage.

  • Protection for the entire family - Cord blood stem cells are not just for your baby - but are an investment for the whole family. A genetically unique resource, your baby's stem cells have a 25% probability of being a perfect match for a sibling - should he or she ever need a stem cell transplant. Clinical studies have also proven that stem cell transplants are twice as successful when the stem cells come from a family member rather than from a non-relative.
  • A resource kept ready - When you bank your baby's cord blood stem cells with a private bank, you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your baby's stem cells are available- should the need ever arise.
  • once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve a biological resource that could be a lifesaver for your child or other family members.
  • life-saving alternative to bone marrow transplants. Doctors have increasingly turned to cord blood stem cells as there is a lower probability of graft vs. host disease (GVHD) and a greater likelihood of finding an appropriate tissue type match.
  • Cord blood is easy to retrieve and is readily available whenever it is needed, unlike bone marrow for example, where it is harder to find a donor matching your HLA type.
  • There are many benefits in storing stem cells harvested from cord or adult peripheral (circulating) blood. Results from both animal studies and early human clinical trials indicate that they have significant capabilities for growth, repair, and regeneration of damaged cells and tissues in the body. Within the last decade alone, science has revealed many benefits of adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells, resulting from research done in both animal studies and early human clinical trials. This stem cell research indicates that they have significant capabilities for growth, repair, and regeneration of damaged cells and tissues in the body.
If the public cord blood stem cell bank becomes a reality, it would save the lives of many patients in India.

(Cost mentioned is approximate cost calculated at the time of Bank establishment)
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  1. nice article. I had heard about it before from friends. thank you for sharing :D