A baby’s umbilical cord is an amazing thing: It helps sustain the baby before he or she is born, and after birth it has the potential to cure a number of diseases through stem cell therapy. At birth, both cord blood and cord tissue are harvested and stored so your baby can benefit from stem cell therapy in the future. How is cord tissue different, and do you really need to save both?
As the name suggests, cord blood is blood that comes from the umbilical cord. If parents decide to bank their child’s cord blood, a sample is taken from the umbilical cord post-birth through a fast and painless collection process. The cord blood contains stem cells that can replace damaged or dead cells. Cord blood has been used to treat over 80 blood and autoimmune diseases such as sickle cell, leukemia and anemia.
Harvesting cord tissue is as easy and painless for both mother and baby as harvesting cord blood. A 4-6 inch segment of the umbilical cord is cut and sent to a storage facility, where it will be safely stored until it’s needed.
Cord tissue contains a different kind of stem cell called mesenchymal cells, which are used in different ways than the stem cells taken from cord blood. Unlike the stem cells found in cord blood,which are used to help replenish red blood cells and help your body’s immune system fight infection, the stem cells found in cord tissue can be used to form non-blood cells as well. The mesenchymal cells can be used to help repair bone and cartilage tissue.
The primary development in using mesenchymal cells in stem cell therapy is in helping rehabilitate damaged connective tissue, but many other treatments are in the works, particularly in helping patients with spinal cord injuries or those who have suffered from stroke.
Cord blood has been banked since 1988 with cord tissue being banked recently. While cord tissue is still in the research stage, so was cord blood back in the 80s. Since the 80s, cord blood has been used in treatments for 80 different diseases, and we believe that cord tissue will take the same route. Saving both gives you the best options for your baby and your family. As new treatments are developed as a result of research using cord tissue, you can expect tissue storage to become as common as cord blood.
Interested in cord blood storage for your baby? Call Corcell today at (888) 882-2673 or (702) 914-7250 (international calls) for more information.