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Disadvantages of cord blood transplantation in stem cell banking

December 3, 2020

Stem cells are the basic building blocks of our body. These are a class of undifferentiated cells and have the potential to develop into specialized cells like blood cells, brain cells, etc. in the body. In modern science, stem cells have become a very important field as these can be used to replace cells or repair cells affected or damaged by injuries, illness, or ageing.

What is stem cell banking?

As the name suggests, stem cell banking is simply the process of extracting, processing, and preserving stem cells for future uses. Stem cell banking is often synonymously used with cord blood banking, which is the process of collecting cord blood and freezing the stem cells. Cord blood (or umbilical cord blood) is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after delivery.

Importance of cord blood banking:

Umbilical cord blood can be used for a variety of tasks like:

  • Treatment of various diseases: research is being done all around the world as stem cells have the potential to treat life-threatening diseases. Since the stem cells are unexposed to the external environment, they have the potential of regenerating into different types of cells in the body.
  • Stem cells can be used for the treatment of various blood disorders including sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and even cancers like leukaemia.
  • The stem cells can be used by other members of the family for the treatment of various diseases.
  • Stem cells have a promising future as they could soon be used in the treatment of diseases and ailments which are considered incurable.

Cord blood transplantation:

Cord blood transplantation refers to the replacement of maligned cells with healthy cells or to strengthen the production of new healthy cells. Cord blood transplantation depends on various factors like the disease to be treated, the availability of stem cells, the health of patient etc. Once suitable stem cells are found, the patient undergoes through a series of treatments, which is known as the conditioning. The conditioning depends on the disease being treated (for example, chemotherapy or radiotherapy might be used as conditioning treatment).

After the conditioning is over, cord blood transplantation is done. The process is very similar to that of blood transfusion. The isolated stem cells, after being tested, are infused through intravenous (IV) therapy directly into the patient’s blood supply. The cells then start to act according to the purpose and aid recovery.

Disadvantages of cord blood transplantation:

Though very useful in the treatment of various problems, cord blood transplantation has some disadvantages like:

  • The quantity of collected cord blood and that of stem cells is very less. This can especially be a problem for adults, as they need higher amounts of stem cells for transplantation.

  • Patients undergoing cord blood transplantation are exposed to the risk of rare genetic disorders of the immune system or blood. Families who donate cord blood are usually asked about their ethnic background and history of diseases and several tests for common genetic diseases are done. However, it may still be possible that some rare serious genetic disorder gets transmitted to the patient. Though the chance is very less, it still remains a risk.

  • Since the amount of cord blood collected is very less, a new unit of cells, if required, has to be collected from a new donor which may be difficult to find. The amount of cord blood collected from a single donor is usually only effective in a patient weighing less than 30kg. Therefore, cord blood from multiple sources has to be collected in cases of adult treatment.

Despite a few disadvantages, cord blood banking a great way to secure your child against various life-threatening diseases.

Cloudnine is one of the few child hospitals that offers state of the art facilities for stem cell banking. Cryonine on Cloudnine, a world-class stem cell banking service provides you with the best facilities for stem cell preservation. Our processing and storage facilities are certified by various globally renowned agencies. Our policies ensure that there is a minimum risk of contamination of the stem cells.

Moreover, we at Cloudnine ensure immediate and hassle-free availability of stem cells, so that you may not have to depend on the availability of donors at the time of need.

Must read - Reasons to opt for stem cell banking

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