What is stem cell?
Stem cell is the specialized form of active cells that have the ability to transform into any type of cells.
Types Of Stem Cells?
Now before getting into details of it lets first know its types, following are its types:
1) Totipotent stem cells – Such cells have the ability to divide into a large group of cells. Best examples are human zygote.
2) Pluripotent stem cells – Such cells have an ability to divide into two types of cells ie blood and cells.The best example is bone marrow, umbilical cord, and peripheral blood.
3) Multipotent stem cells – Such cells have an ability to divide into one type of cells. Best examples are Dental pulp, adipose tissue(fat cells), menstrual blood.
Now out of all these above-mentioned sources, umbilical cord and its blood are considered to be the best source for stem cells. Let’s know the reason why so?
Why the umbilical cord is considered to be the best source for stem cells collection?
- It contains nascent stem cells(such cells have the highest replication and replicative potential rate in them).
- Easy availability- Without any surgical intervention, the umbilical cord can be easily obtained(immediately after the mother’s delivery).
- Painless and easy to collect
- There will be no harm to mother and child
- Multiplication power of umbilical cord cells are very higher than other sources(they are highly active in nature)
- Umbilical cord blood has shown proven success record for treating both cancerous and noncancerous blood disorder
- Last but not the least, easy HLA typing matching criteria 4/6 compared to bone marrow transplants which require 10/10 HLA matching(most important reason)
History of Stem Cells
The umbilical cord blood is a good source of stem cells, combined with several growth factors and hormones which are highly essential for the proper development of the baby. These growth factors are the ones who majorly contributes to the transformation of a developing fetus into the fully grown baby. Earlier it was believed that umbilical cord is of no use hence after a mother’s delivery, it is was always discarded.
But various studies have been conducted over this and finally, scientists came to the conclusion this is not a “medical waste” but a very precious resource containing lifesaving stem cells that can help in treating a wide range of blood-related disorders.
The first umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation (UCBT) was successfully performed in France In 1988. Today, cord blood stem transplant has gained popularity as an effective treatment modality and are also considered to be one of the best alternatives to bone marrow transplants.
Why every Indian should store this baby umbilical cord blood?
India is the most genetically diverse country with almost around 26 millions birth per year. In short, we can assume our county as the largest pool of genetically diverse ucb units in the world. But unfortunately, cord blood storage units are very less in India. And in India, the high incidence of hematological diseases has been recorded. That’s why there is a huge need for umbilical cord blood storage in this current scenario when there is a rise in leukemia cases with 3% alarming rate every year. 104239 cases of leukemia have been reported in 2010. About 2 million babies have been reported to be born with thalassemia minor. Few reports say that about 10,000 cases of thalassemia minor babies has been reported every year. Even aplastic anemia babies also have also been reported.
In developed countries public sector banks for UCB units storage are available. Whereas in developing countries like India there is no facility of the public bank set up for UCB by the Indian government that’s why Indian people are not aware of UCB storage and its benefits. In India, only private banking for UCB storage is there. The first private bank started in 2004. Till now, only 13 private banks for UCB storage are there.
How can people store their UCB ?
There are various organizations available in India for storing UCB but as stated above, public sectors are not available in india as such.
They can store it in public(western countries), private or pool banking storage organizations.
How is private banking for UCB storage is different from public banking?
The private organization works on the simple principle where donor would donate their umbilical cord and they would preserve it and keep it safe for the respected donor itself. The donor might have to pay a certain amount to a private organization for their umbilical cord storage so that later they can use it again.
But as far as public banking being concerned to them, donor donates their umbilical cord unit without any service charge. But later when they want to use it or if any other person wants it, they need to pay a certain fee amount to the organization so that they can use it in the time of need.
But previously people weren’t aware of the fact that umbilical cord blood cannot be used for self-use. Due to which much private organization in India made money out of it, by making people fool out of it and thereby making them spend money unnecessarily on something that they can’t even use it in near future.
Why pool banking is important?
Be aware for the past decade cord blood banking has been wrongly done for self-use for the newborn baby. However, it is important to for every pregnant mother to be to understand that it is an accepted fact endorsed by the medical fraternity world over that use of your own (autologous) UCB is not a preferred choice. This is because over 90% of the blood-related diseases in a child are from the time of birth and not acquired. As such in most blood-related disorders Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant (UCBT) is recommended to be that of another person (allogeneic) and not your own (autologous).
It is recommended that each UCB unit privately banked be stored as part of a pool thereby providing easy access to the best matched cord blood unit. That is, if cord blood unit is required by either one of the family members including the child instead of depending on your banked cord blood only, you shall be provided with the best-matched cord blood unit available in the pool.
The nature of the diseases treatable is such that the timely availability of stem cells for transplant is of utmost importance. With the absence of public cord blood banks in India, the possibility to source a matched UCB unit is a challenge. Most patients in India needing UCB transplant are deprived of being treated with this proven lifesaving modality due to unavailability of matched units.
Each parent-to-be must understand the gravity of the situation and act accordingly.
How is my cord is different from other organizations?
Mycord organization follows the principle of pool banking where it creates large pooling of umbilical cord storage( collects a huge amount of umbilical cord blood from various donors). They collect it with a certain amount from the donor and keep it preserved for them. And when donor needs it, they provide them the best HLA matched umbilical cord blood unit to them for successful UCB transplantation.
What are the criteria for pool cord blood bank storage/successful transplant?
1)More than 500 million total nucleated cell count is needed.
2)Minimum of 80 ml volume of cord blood is needed for a successful transplant to occur.
3)More than 1.25 million CD34+ cell count is needed.
4)Viability of cord blood should be 80% before cryopreservation.