Saving Cord Blood

Cord blood has the potential to treat at least 80 diseases, including cancer, yet it is usually discarded as medical waste 90% of the time. Learn how placental blood is valuable in treatments for some life-threatening diseases.
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There is a Blood Awareness Month held annually. It is celebrated in the month of July, and despite the efforts of local and international  organizations in raising the public’s awareness on the importance and life-saving powers of umbilical cord blood stem cells, people still fail to understand what cord blood can do . Now, what exactly is cord blood?

Cord blood, or umbilical cord blood, is also called “placental blood.” This is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following the birth of a baby, and after the cord is cut. Every year, almost 90% of the stem cells in cord blood are discarded as medical waste.

What Is Cord Blood Used For?

Umbilical cord blood is rich with Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs), which are primarily responsible for replenishing blood and regenerating the immune system. In a study by Dr. Kenneth Joseph Moise, Jr., MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist, it was found that cord blood can be used in the treatment of almost 80 diseases.

Most of the diseases that can be treated are inherited genetic diseases. The treatment for such diseases is through a donor transplant. In this process,the stem cells are infused in to a patient’s bloodstream where they heal and repair damaged cells and tissue. When a transplant is successful, a healthy new immune system has been created

Now you can imagine how much of a waste it is to simply throw away cord blood when it can be used for various treatments. If ever you are willing to donate cord blood or refer a pregnant friend, be sure to contact Cordlife Philippines, the Philippines’ first and only cord blood processing and cryopreservation facility that aims to better serve the cord blood banking needs of Filipinos.

Source: RAND Corporation

How Does It Work?

Stem cells, which has the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth,  are vital in regenerative medicine, an interdisciplinary approach which seeks to repair or replace damaged or diseased human cells or tissues to restore normal function.

A perfect example of regenerative medicine is when Kobe Bryant went to Germany to find a cure to his arthritic right knee. The Regenokine approach was done on his knee, wherein they took a small cup of blood from Bryant, before it was shaken and spun. Afterwards, they had injected it back into the patient, which brings immediate pain relief to most patients.

Rich with HSCs, it has been proven that cord blood is the fastest growing source of stem cells in pediatric transplants and make up more than 1/2 of all pediatric transplants.  HSC is the immature blood-forming cells found in everyone’s blood and bone marrow. These cells change into the red or white blood cells and platelets your body needs to stay healthy.

However, for patients with a bone marrow disease,  the process does not work properly. What happens is that there are problems with the stem cells or how they develop, usually involving red or white blood cell production.

This is why the different kinds of leukemia and anemia are all categorized as a bone marrow disease, since their effects on the body are caused by either a deficiency or overproduction of red or white blood cells.

A bone marrow transplant is often the best chance of survival and a possible cure, and umbilical cord blood offers a potential source of the needed replacement tissue for the transplant.

Below is a brief list of diseases which cord blood can be used in the treatment of:

To read up more on the diseases which cord blood could help with, click here.

If you are want to donate cord blood, please inform your  obstetrician-gynecologist and coordinate directly with Cordlife Philippines. And if you don’t have one just yet, worry not because SeeYouDoc has various doctors who will take care of you and your child.

Donate Cord Blood, Save Lives.

References: Cord Blood Awareness, ViaCord

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