Stem Cells are the cells that make up the embryo and are the original building blocks of life. Stem Cells develop into various cell types in the body such as: skin, cartilage, nerves, blood cells, muscle and bone.
Stem Cells are abundant in the umbilical cord blood and tissue, and can easily be collected at the birth of the baby (less invasive than harvesting them later in life). They are normally discarded as medical waste, making their collection free of moral, ethical and religious concerns.
The cord blood is rich in haematopoietic (blood forming) stem cells that are used to treat over 80 blood related diseases. Cord blood is a valuable source of stem cells for regeneration of bone marrow and can be used to replace diseased cells with healthy new cells, and rebuild an individual’s blood and immune system.
Cord blood is collected immediately after the birth of your baby by your Gynaecologist/Doctor or Midwife. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut, a needle is inserted into the umbilical vein and blood is collected into a sterile collection bag. Cord blood collection is quick, safe and painless for both mother and baby. Approximately 80-100ml of blood needs to be collected for successful storage.
The cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which are stem cells that give rise to the connective tissues of the body i.e. skin, muscle, bone, cartilage, nerve and fat. MSCs are being employed in research environments for a wide variety of aesthetic and medical conditions. Cord tissue is collected after the cord blood has been collected and the placenta has been delivered. A 10-15cm piece of umbilical cord is cut, cleaned and placed in a sterile collection tube.
Various international studies have found that stem cells can regenerate or facilitate the repair of cells damaged by disease, genetics or injury. In less than a generation, therapies have emerged for over 80 blood disorders and immune system conditions – such as leukaemia, anaemia and autoimmune diseases – where cord blood stem cells are used to regenerate bone marrow. There are trials underway for treatments of cerebral palsy, autism, brain injury and Type 1 diabetes.
Trials using stem cells from cord tissue are underway for skin regeneration, orthopaedics such as cartilage and bone repair, and in the fields of neurology and cardiology.
Stem cells are a perfect match for the baby they are collected from, so there is no risk of rejection after transplant.
There is also a 1 in 4 possibility that their stem cells will be a match for a sibling.
Umbilical cord stem cell banking is a form of medical insurance – hopefully the stem cells are never needed. But, regenerative therapies are an emerging, and extremely promising, area of medical science. As more therapies using stem cells are developed, the likelihood of their use increases.
What to look for in a stem cell storage provider
Start considering umbilical cord stem cell banking from around 20 weeks of pregnancy to allow enough time to research providers and storage options and budget for the costs. The registration process is quick, and the collection kit can be delivered within 3-5 working days of a successful registration and initial payment. Many hospitals carry emergency collection kits should the baby arrive a little earlier than planned.
Netcells offers several storage options and interest-free payment plans, allowing parents to tailor-make a payment plan that suits their needs.
For more information and detailed pricing, visit the Next Biosciences website: https://nextbio.co.za/pricing-calculator/ or call 011 697 2900.