Umbilical cord blood is usually drawn from the umbilical cord after it had been detached from the newborn baby not causing any harm to the baby or mother. It’s believed to contain so called pure blood stem cells without the blood markers or antigens that can potentially be rejected by the recipient’s immune system. Extracted cord blood is then placed to a blood bank and frozen until future use. When the need arises, the umbilical cord blood stem cells are then injected intravenously into a patient’s blood stream to repair any damaged organ or tissue and create new and healthy cells.
The low cost, ease of extraction and lack of antigens in the umbilical cord blood makes it a unique way to be used for umbilical cord stem cell transplant therapy. Umbilical cord blood contains mesenchymal stem cells that are considered multipotent or are able to differentiate themselves into any tissue, bone, muscle or skin, and therefore be used to treat virtually any disease in the future. In addition, umbilical cord stem cell therapy does not raise a lot of controversy as with embryonic stem cell research, which some consider to be inhumane and murderous.
Umbilical cord stem cell transplant therapy promises to cure the following deadly diseases and conditions:
1. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be potentially cured by umbilical cord stem cell injection and help stimulate own insulin production.
2. Heart diseases and conditions, repairs to heart valves and tissues could benefit from umbilical cord stem cell therapies.
3. Injuries to the brain caused by trauma or stroke.
4. Cerebral palsy in children resulting from an injury during birth.
5. Umbilical cord stem cell transplants can treat bone marrow cancer or leukemia.
6. Variety of blood cell disorders like sickle cell anemia and others.
7. Metabolic system disorders.
8. Immunodeficiency conditions.
9. Spinal and neck cord injuries.
10. Osteopetrosis or a disease of hardening bones and formation of excessive bone mass.
With the expansion of umbilical cord stem cell therapy and President Obama lifting a ban on the stem cell lab work, stem cell research pros and cons are likely to continue gaining a lot of public attention in hope to finally find a cure for hundreds of deadly diseases.