Stem cells that are acquired from umbilical cord blood have been extremely useful for stem cell transplants among adult patients because they are not prone to getting the infection called GVHD (graft versus host disease). This means that the patient has less chances of getting infection from the donor during the infusion. GVHD and other types of infections may easily be acquired by the patient from other sources such as bone marrow or peripheral blood. This is why a number of doctors now make use of UCBT or Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant compared to other more traditional methods.
The first time UCBT was conducted it was done on a 15 to 16-year-old boy who was sick with Lymphoblastic Leukemia. A transplant was conducted on him wherein the stem cells were derived from 10 varying donors. It was successful and the boy had a new chance in life. The procedure done on him was called Allogenic stem cell transplant which involves UCBT that came from multiple donors. Ever since the cord blood has become a reliable alternative source of stem cells for transplant conducted among children.
There are various advantages in the collection of stem cells from cord blood:
First is that it is largely available.
There’s also a lower risk of infection from the donor’s blood.
The patient has reduced chances of getting GVHD.
It also provides a safe and secure means to collect and store blood without causing any detriment to the donor and recipient.
It also means reduced number of complications when it comes to HLA matching.
It is established fact that cord blood transplants can be successfully conducted on children, but recent experiments done on adults only proved that they are safe to do on adults as well. In fact, today UCB is recommended as a reliable alternative source of hematopoietic stem cells to be used for allogeneic transplantation among adult patients.
There are different methods to store cord blood. It can be done with the use of public cord blood banking and private cord blood banking.
For public cord blood banking, there are various types to choose from. There are non-profit public banks. It is said that about 75 percent of both private and public cord blood banks are non-profit, or intended for public welfare. The samples preserved here are for family usage, for research and for transplant.
With the for-profit public cord blood bank, the blood bank doesn’t charge their clients for storage but they sell units of blood to research organizations. This practice is not allowed in Asian and European countries.
There are also research public banks or RPBs for short. This type of cord blood bank started in the early 2000s. The samples stored here are only intended for research and not for transplants. The banks don’t charge clients for the cord blood storage but they are taken for research only or to be sold to researchers.
Another type is the private cord blood bank which is not governed by any of the state agencies. Only the patient is allowed to get and use the samples. A payment ranging from $500 to $2,000 is required.
Now you know your options for cord blood bank. Remember that you have to decide before the delivery period.