What is Cord Blood: Cord Blood meaning 101

What is Cord Blood?

What is Cord Blood: Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which are the building blocks of blood and immune systems in the body. Stem cells have the ability to become many other types of cells, so used to repair and maintenance of many other damaged cells in the body.

The body’s immune system and blood system also originate from stem cells. There are several convincing clinical evidences proving that stem cells from umbilical cord blood extended much farther than the blood forming and immune systems, and that they can distinguish themselves into brain, heart, liver and bone cells.

Currently, cord blood is being used to treat malignant diseases such as Leukemia, Lymphoma, Neuroblastoma and numerous other types of cancer. Also, It is being used to treat non-malignant diseases such as Aplastic Anemia Thalassemia, Congenital Cytopenia, Hunter Syndrome, Osteopetrosis, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Sickle Cell Anemia, Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome and many others.

Before 1989, the only way to treat patients with leukemia, aplastic anemia, and some immune deficiency diseases, was Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Transplantation (in some cases). But with Bone Marrow there was a big problem that mostly patients do not find a suitable donor for bone marrow. But today you have another great option and that is Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation.

Stem cells divide to create:

  • Red blood cells transport oxygen to the brain.
  • White blood cells play a important role in the body’s immune system.
  • Platelets, which help blood clotting.

Like bone marrow, cord blood is the richest sources of stem cells that can ever be collected. It is from the umbilical cord and the placenta right after the cord has been cut. Normally cord blood is discarded after birth, but with increasing knowledge and awareness to the benefits of this blood today, people are saving or donating this blood to a cord blood bank.

As cord blood is also found in the placenta, so sometimes it is also called Placenta Blood. When cord blood from the umbilical cord was unknown it was considered as a useless thing. But in reality after many clinical and individual evidences, cord blood is considered to be very important and useful blood.

What is Cord Blood: Cord blood is prized because it’s a rich source of stem cells (the building blocks of the blood and immune system). According to Wayne Borcherding, Lab Manager at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Stem Cell Laboratory, stem cells are “more immature cells, and the cord blood is very rich stem cells.”

Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into other tissues, organs, and blood vessels, and they can be used to treat a host of diseases.

For patients with conditions like leukemia, for instance, chemotherapy is often used to rid their bodies of diseased cells and restore normal blood cell production.

Usually, normal blood cell production resumes and the disease goes into remission. But if the treatment fails or disease recurs, doctors often add a stem cell transplant to the treatment regimen.

By using a transfusion of stem cells in cord blood from a healthy donor, a new blood and immune system can be generated and the patient has a better chance of making a full recovery.

Unlike the stem cells in bone marrow — the most common source of stem cells today — stem cells in cord blood are immature and haven’t yet learned how to attack foreign substances. As a result, patients who receive stem cells from cord blood are less likely to reject the transfusion.

What is Cord Blood

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