World Cord Blood Day: Understanding cord blood stem cells

By Dr Someshni Moodley

15 November 2023

As we celebrate World Cord Blood Day, it is an opportune moment to explore the incredible value held within a simple resource: umbilical cord blood. Amidst the wonder of welcoming a newborn into the world, parents are often unaware of the lifesaving potential contained within cord blood, which are stem cells.

Cord blood, collected from the umbilical cord at birth, is rich in haematopoietic stem cells, which have the unique ability to develop into various types of blood cells that are usually produced by one’s bone marrow. This invaluable resource holds promise for future potential medical treatments.

Stem cells are the building blocks of life, possessing the remarkable ability to repair and regenerate damaged tissues and organs. Cord blood, specifically, can be used to help treatment over 80 blood-related diseases, including certain cancers, blood disorders, immune deficiencies, and more.

Collecting stem cells at birth is easy, painless and a lot less invasive than collecting them later in life. These cells can be stored and preserved for many years, ready to be utilised if the child needs it in the future. They hold the potential to treat not only the child from whom they were collected but also family members who are a match, making them a precious resource for the entire family.

Next Biosciences is the longest internationally accredited cord blood bank in South Africa, having stored 22 000+ samples since 2005. We believe education is pivotal in empowering families to make informed decisions about cord blood banking. Discussing this topic with healthcare providers during pregnancy, visiting our stands at baby-related events and expos can provide invaluable insights and guidance. Here at Next Biosciences we also offer four lab tours a year at our laboratory in Midrand, as well as one-on-one lab tours during the week. Interested in a one-on-one tour, please make a booking.

Understanding the process, benefits, and limitations of cord blood banking is essential for making a well-informed choice.

As we celebrate World Cord Blood Day, let us continue to raise awareness, advocate for research, and empower parents with knowledge about the immense value of cord blood stem cells.  As we have seen, these cord blood stem cells are often overlooked but hold the potential to heal, restore, and potentially save lives.

For more information on stem cell banking, click here.