Cord stem cells: why preserve them?
What are the benefits of storing stem cells contained in the umbilical cord? You only get one chance to opt for cord stem cell preservation and that is at the time of birth. This is why it is important for a couple expecting a baby to be clear about this so that they can make an informed choice.
Umbilical cord stem cells are immunologically “immature”
Umbilical cord stem cells are immunologically “immature” compared to stem cells collected from tissues such as bone marrow, and this results in an advantage and allows for a reduced chance of post-transplant rejection 1 .
Umbilical cord stem cells are a therapeutic tool, and are now used in the treatment of more than eighty diseases 2 according to the ministerial decree issued in November 2009.
A couple can choose whether to donate the blood contained in the cord to public biobanks or store it privately. With public donation, the family loses ownership of the sample, which is donated to the community, while with private preservation, the sample is stored in biobanks based abroad and can be used by the donor or family members.
In the event that it is necessary to use donated cord blood for the treatment of a specific disease, it becomes essential to find a compatible donor. Families who opted for private storage instead can use the stored specimen, which is 100% donor compatible and up to 50% parental and 25% sibling compatible.
Each couple expecting a child should be provided with fair and unbiased information about the importance of storing cord blood; only in this way can a family make an informed and conscious choice and prevent this valuable therapeutic asset from being lost.