Cord Blood Transplants
“Julie and Jonathan Henderson were devastated when they came to know that their two year old son Nicolas is suffering from T-cell lymphoma and at the same time they came to know about Julie’s second pregnancy. What should have been a time of excitement turned out to be a time of hospital stays, doctor’s visits and chemotherapy. But the chemotherapy did not work out for Nicolas; at that time their doctor tried a transplant procedure and used the stem cells from the umbilical cord of their new born child. Thanks to the stem cells, now Nicolas is four year old and is happy and full of life.”
“Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, has been bed ridden for nearly two decades. She damaged her back in an accident at that time which affected her spine. She was treated using stem cell therapy and her treatment became the world’s first example in which, a patient suffering from spinal cord problem has been effectively treated using stem cells taken from the cord blood.”
These are just few of the many cases in which patients suffering from various diseases have been treated successfully using the cord blood stem cells. In some cases it was the portion of the limb that was saved, in some whole lower limb was saved. Cord blood stem cells have been successfully used for the cure of many diseases like leukemia, Hodgkin’s diseases and different types of anemia. Today stem cell transplant is playing a major role in the field of medicine and is one of the most important breakthroughs in the medical history. As the number of successful umbilical cord blood transplant is increasing so is increasing the awareness about the cord blood bank and thus increasing the cord blood donation.
Cord blood stem cell transplants are gaining an upper hand when it is coming between the bone marrow stem cells and cord blood stem cells. Cord blood stem cells are replacing the bone marrow stem cells because they are as successful as the bone marrow stem cells. Also they are very easy to collect and store as compared to the bone marrow stem cells which are very hard to collect. Moreover the cord blood stem cells have higher tolerance and thus does not faces the risk of mismatch as in the case of bone marrow stem cells.
However cord blood transplant has its limitations. It is more often used for treating children and less often used for the treatment of adults. The reason behind this is that smaller patients need fewer cells where as this demand of cells in large patients is greater and cord blood unit has a limited amount of blood-forming cells. So if large patients have to be treated sometimes two or more than two cord blood units have to be used. Also it takes longer for cord blood cells to grow in the patient and create new blood cells and an immune system that is it takes longer for cord blood cells to engraft and until the cells engraft, the patient is considered to be at a very high risk from any infection.
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