Development of modern medicine gives great opportunities, one of which is reinsurance against serious diseases by storing for decades stem cells from the umbilical cord, which subsequently can save lives. In umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells and so called Totipotent cells that have the ability to be converted into other types of cells – muscle, bone, nerve, liver, etc.
Taking stem cells from umbilical cord blood can happen during birth at the request of the parents, then they are put in liquid nitrogen and stored indefinitely. Science points out that storing them securely, they remain viable and ready for use at any time we need them.
In the past, this method was used by mainly parents who have lost a child from serious illness, but nowadays more and more parents who are informed on this issue tend to ensure the health and lifes of children through preventive storage of stem cells from umbilical cord.
The first successful use of stem cells from cord blood was made in 1988. From that point, they are used to treat many hereditary blood diseases and also leukemia and childhood cancers.
What are stem cells?
They are primary cells that can be converted under suitable conditions to almost all other types of cells. Stem cells are able to multiply in cell cultures.
The bone marrow and nervous system of adult person also has stem cells, but they are limited and do not have the same value as those from the umbilical cord of a newborn. These cells taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn are younger and have greater histocompatibility than those of the bone marrow of an adult. Moreover, taking bone marrow is quite painful and risky procedure until the umbilical cord is painless and easy.
Over 70 different types of diseases can be treated using the stored stem cells. By using them regeneration of blood was achieved in many autoimmune diseases. Their application is growing every day in recovering bodies after injury. They are used to create heart valves, bladder and other organs. In recent years, experiments are made for use in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The success rate of treatment of transplantation of umbilical cord blood is much greater than when using such taken from bone marrow.
How and how long stem cells can be stored?
In unchanged conditions of liquid nitrogen /cryopreservation/ at minus 196 degrees, they can maintain their biological functions and survive indefinitely. So far science has no data of stored in these conditions cells, that have lost vitality or biological activity. Studies show that after 15 years of cryopreservation, these cells retain all their biological functions.