Once thought to be useless, the umbilical cord cut after birth has been used successfully, over the last two decades, to treat more than 70 diseases, including some forms of cancer, blood disorders, immune deficiencies, or rare metabolic disorders. The cord blood left in the umbilical cord is an important source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) normally found and extracted from the bone marrow, and responsible for the blood supply throughout our lives. According to some scientific reports, apart from HSCs, cord blood may also contain some other forms of stem cells that can produce specialized cells (i.e. nerve cells or liver cells), but this finding is still under research.
Clinical trials are under way all over the world, wherein children are being infused with cord blood stem cells extracted from their own umbilical cord, in an attempt to develop therapies for cerebral palsy, autism, hydrocephalus, type 1 diabetes, traumatic brain injuries or congenital heart flaws that would otherwise require surgery. Researchers are also optimistic about the possibility to use some day a patients own cord blood stem cells to treat rare diseases or cancer types that are not genetically determined.
This summer, the scientists at the Anthony Nolan Research Institute discovered that some proteins - called soluble NKG2D ligands that can be found in the umbilical cord blood are also very useful in the treatment of eczema and rheumatoid arthritis. The role of these ligands in the human body is to annihilate the natural killer cells in the immune system, which, therefore, makes them an extremely valuable material in the possible treatment of autoimmune or inflammatory conditions.
Another extremely important discovery was made by the Canadian scientists from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer at the Montreal University who developed a molecule that, when coupled to a bioreactor, allowed them to multiply by 10 the number of stems cells extracted from a cord blood unit. This is the most encouraging news for all the patients in the world waiting for a life-saving transplant. It could be a major breakthrough in medicine, since one of the biggest challenges in the use of stem cells so far has been the number of stem cells needed for a successful transplant.
Use A Courier For The Rush Delivery
Canadian women will be happy to know that, since the autumn of 2013, it is possible, as a second option, to donate cord blood to the National Public Cord Blood Bank where the stored cord blood from the public database is then available for any compatible patient in need of a stem cell transplant. If you are a healthy mother-to-be, with no known history of blood diseases in your family and, hence, contemplating the idea of donating your babys cord blood for scientific research, you should also remember that time is of the essence in this kind of medical procedure. For a successful cord blood sampling and shipment, I recommend using a courier to make the rush delivery, Canada being home to many professional companies with experience in delivering cord blood samples.