I have always had a little fascination with stem cells since I did my biology degree at University. I remember learning about the different types and their potential to change into so many different cell types that make up the human body. I found it amazing the possibilities that this does and could bring in treating so many different medical conditions.
Stem cells live in most tissues and replace themselves and other cells which are damaged and worn. We need them to maintain healthy tissues and their function.
I worked for a short time as a dietitian in Haematology and was involved in the care of those with conditions like leukaemia and lymphoma; which are cancers of the blood. Stem cells are used in the treatment of these conditions and I began to learn more about how important they are.
It’s not just these conditions. Stem cells are already used to treat spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, sickle cell and when the bone marrow fails. There is also a lot of experimental work occurring on conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, heart attacks, diabetes and strokes.
Stem Cell Collection from The Umbilical Cord
When I had the girls I was aware of stem cell collection from the umbilical cord but I didn’t feel I knew enough about it or if where it was available. I remember a friend of mine was really keen but at the time not all hospitals offered it.
I was aware it was possible to have the cord collected, stored and donated when needed. This would possibly help to treat someone’s medical condition or potentially save someone’s life. You can also save or store your own baby’s cord after they are born, in case you or your family need the stem cells. Obviously there would be a fee for this but is always something to consider.
The umbilical cord has two types of stem cells which can be collected. The cord and blood would usually be thrown away so there is no harm in collecting them. Haemopoetic stem cells which are found in the cord blood and go on to transform into blood related cells. There are also mesechymal stem cells which are found in the cord tissue and these go on to form bone, cartilage and muscle cells.
This video by Smart Cells really gives you am insight into what stem cells are, how they are collected after a woman is given birth and their potential in treating so many conditions.
It is truly amazing what stem cells can be used for them and the list is growing with more research. I hope in time more people consider donating or storing their baby’s cord blood and tissue.
There are so many possibilities for stem cells.
Disclosure – Collaborative post – this video was provided by Smart Cells.