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Cord Blood Stem Cell
Cord Blood - Stem Cell Dept. Department Of Health And Human Services
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Cord blood comes from the placenta and umbilical cord of newborn babies. It is identical in composition to regular blood except that it contains an abundant supply of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells or HSCs. Cord blood also contains progenitor cells that can give rise to other types of tissue. These cord blood stem cells are multipotent which means that they can form any type of blood cell and can self-renew as well. This makes them responsible for the replenishment of the blood supply. Cord blood stem cells resemble lymphocytes in that they are round, possess a round nucleus and have a small amount of cytoplasm compared to nuclear matter. Embryonic stem cells or cord blood stem cells differ from adult stem cells in their immunological immaturity, high rates of propagation and reduced exposure to viruses and aging. Cord blood stem cells are harvested immediately after delivery of the newborn takes place. The blood is collected from the umbilical cord and placenta and must be kept at room temperature after processing. Normally the afterbirth yields about seventy-five millilitres of blood. Processing separates the white blood cell content from the rest of the blood. This can be done using hydroxyl ethyl starch (HES) sedimentation, red blood cell lysis using ammonium chloride, density gradient separation and differential centrifugation and buffy coat removal. Hydroxy ethyl starch sedimentation is one of the most popular methods of stem cell isolation. Separating the cord blood stem cells from the other components of the blood sample reduces the amount of storage space required and so reduces cost. After separation and testing, the cord blood stem cells are frozen cryogenically in liquid nitrogen tanks. These tanks are tested routinely to ensure that they are not contaminated. When the stem cells are required, they must be transported in specialized containers that are able to maintain the cryogenic temperature until use. Cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of more than seventy diseases which include Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cerebral palsy, leukaemia and sickle cell anaemia. Cord blood stem cells are even more successful than bone marrow transplants in the treatment of leukaemia since there does not have to be such a close blood match between the donor and receiver. This is particularly useful when treating patients who come from ethnic minorities or who are mixed. In general, donors cannot benefit from their stem cells when they are children but there is a fifty percent chance of an adult being able to use his own stem cells. There is also a twenty-five percent chance of siblings being able to use each other’s stem cells. If the use of cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine becomes more of a standard there is a possibility that personal use could become more feasible. Research into cord blood stem cells is currently developing therapies that use stem cells to help the body regenerate or repair itself. These regenerative therapies require the patient to use his own stem cells though. Cord Blood Stem Cell Headlines
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