Cord Blood Research: Umbilical cord blood is the blood that stays in the placenta and inside of the attached umbilical cord after giving birth. Cord blood is saved because it contains stem cells, which could be beneficial in treating hematopoietic and genetic disorders.
Cord blood is blood taken from the new born baby’s umbilical cord. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, cord blood has been used in the treatment of over 80 diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma & anemia. Cord blood is most commonly used in the disease category for leukemia. Other groups that benefit from cord blood are inherited diseases (of red blood cells, the immune system and certain metabolic abnormalities.) Patients diagnosed with lymphoma, myelodysplasia and severe aplastic anemia have also had successfull transplants with cord blood. Parents of newborn babies can choose to bank the cord blood against the possibility that it will be useful in the future, should the child or a related family member fall victim to a disease that is treatable by cord blood stem cells.
The way that Cord blood is obtained, is by using a syringe to suck out the stem cells from the placenta through the umbilical cord during childbirth, after the cord has been detached from the newborn. A single unit of cord blood nomally lacks enough stem cells to treat an adult patient. The placenta is the best source of stem cells, since it contains up to 10 X’s more than cord blood. The umbilical cord should be prematurely clamped first, or some placental blood may be returned to the neonatal circulation. Cord clamping should be delayed a minimum of 2 minutes to prevent anemia over the first 3 months of life, and enriching iron stores and ferritin levels for as long as six months. If the umbilical cord isn’t clamped, and it is not during an extended delayed cord clamping protocol, a physiological postnatal occlusion occurs upon interaction with cold air, when the internal gelatinous substance, called Wharton’s jelly, swells around the umbilical artery and veins.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates cord blood. Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue Based-Productsis the category that it falls under. Several states also require accreditation, including New York, New Jersey, and California. Any company not accredited within those states is not legally permitted to collect cord blood from those states, even if the company is based out of state. You can check the New York accreditation status from the New York Umbilical Cord Blood Banks Licensed to Collect in New York. Other countries also have regulations pertaining to cord blood. In the United Kingdom, the Human Tissue Authority (www.hta.gov.uk) regulates the cord blood banking.