Umbilical Cord Blood (HAEMATOPOIETIC STEM CELL)
Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) are responsible for regenerating the different blood cells such as Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets as well as for rebuilding our immune system. In the past, the only way to use HSCs in therapy was through bone marrow transplants, which is an uncomfortable and invasive procedure and, in order for a transplant to be successful, the donor and recipient must be genetically similar.
If they are too genetically different it could induce Graft vs. Host disease, a common transplant complication, or the transplant could be rejected. Scientists have developed ways to derive HSCs from other sources such as Peripheral Blood. Umbilical Cord Blood is becoming a preferred source of HSCs, especially for treatment of paediatric patients.
ACTUAL USE IN MODERN MEDICINE
Year after year Umbilical Cord Blood has become a preferred source of Stem Cells, especially in paediatrics.
The first Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) Stem Cell transplant was performed in 1988 and, since then, more than 30,000 transplants have been performed worldwide. Around the globe, hundreds of clinical trails are being undertaken to evaluate the use of umbilical cord blood in treating hematologic and non-hematologic diseases. UCB Stem Cells can be used in Autologous (same person’s stem cells) or Allogeneic (donor’s stem cells) transplants, including Stem Cells from a sibling or other family member.
In 1997 a study proved that one-year survival rate is more than twice as high if patient receives a cord blood stem cell transplant from a relative (63%) vs. an unrelated donor (29%). (Gluckman et al, 1997) Year after year Umbilical Cord Blood has become a preferred source of Stem Cells, especially in paediatrics.
The use of allogeneic Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells has increased especially in paediatric patients since 1999. Half of the transplants in 2011 were performed using Umbilical Cord Stem Cells.