Umbilical cord blood that is abundant in the baby’s placenta at birth turns out to have many health benefits for the baby in the future. Fortunately, with the advances in medical technology today, Mom and Dad can store the child’s cord blood. A complete description of cord blood and its storage can be seen below :
- 1 Cord Blood Stem Cells
- 2 Differences in Cord Blood with Spinal Cord Stem Cells
- 3 Using Double Unit Cord Blood for Transplantation
Cord Blood Stem Cells
Cord blood is blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby, and is an embryonic cell that is a cell progenitor, so that it can turn into another cell. Another characteristic of umbilical cord blood is hematopoietic cells, so it can turn into all types of blood cells. In its development, cells in umbilical cord blood can turn into all types of cells when placed in tissues or other organs.
In other words, these cells can turn into blood cells, nerve cells, skin cells, and also be able to reproduce and produce other cells in limited ability.
This ability makes many medical researchers use cord blood to cure more than 80 deadly diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, and many other diseases.
Since the 1990s, many people have started storing their child’s cord blood for potential future use. The process of taking umbilical cord blood only takes a few minutes, but you must make a decision to save the cord blood or not before the birth process. After your baby is born, the doctor has about 15 minutes to cut and clamp the umbilical cord, so that the blood on the umbilical cord will be accommodated in the bag. Blood can also be taken by injection, just like when you were injected to take blood. After being collected, the cord blood is frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored.
Supporters of cord blood storage say that the process of taking cord blood is not harmful to the mother and baby at all. But there are those who say that the process of storing cord blood is sometimes too fast, because sometimes a little blood in the umbilical cord flows back to the baby before the cord is clamped. According to those who disagree with storing cord blood, cord clamping that too quickly reduces the blood flow and oxygen needed by the baby, so it will increase the risk of various diseases in infants. If you are interested in storing your child’s cord blood, now there are many ‘banks’ that have the role of storing cord blood banks. To save the cord blood of your child, you must be prepared to spend a significant amount, starting from the cost of taking, testing and storing. In addition, there are annual storage costs that need to be paid.
Differences in Cord Blood with Spinal Cord Stem Cells
Before cord blood, medical technology is also able to transform stem cells from the spinal cord into various cells needed to cure various diseases. But stem cells from cord blood have several advantages and disadvantages when compared to stem cells from the spinal cord. Before deciding whether your mother and father will store your child’s cord blood, you should first listen to the following advantages and disadvantages.
Cord Blood Benefit
1. Stem cell transplantation therapy from the spinal cord requires a 100% compatibility rate to avoid fatal side effects such as decreased immune system. But cord blood transplantation therapy does not require 100% compatibility, so cord blood can be used for more types of patients.
2. The need for spinal cord stem cells to fit 100% between the donor and the recipient makes the process of finding a donor bone marrow stem takes a long time. Even though patients who need a transplant usually need medical treatment as soon as possible.
Cord Blood Deficiency
1. Stem of umbilical cord blood cells requires a slower time to develop compared to spinal cord stem cells, so the healing process of the patient takes longer. As a result the patient is in a low immune level for a longer time, so that it is easily exposed to contamination.
2. Stem cells from the spine can be taken many times in sufficient quantities. But stem cells from cord blood can only be taken at birth in small amounts, which is about 180 ml on average. This small amount makes cord blood usually only used for pediatric patients, because the amount of cord blood is insufficient for people weighing more than 50 kg. Adult patients usually need more than 1 unit of cord blood donation.
Using Double Unit Cord Blood for Transplantation
Umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells have been widely used in transplants as regenerative treatment to treat various diseases, both hematological malignancies and non-hematological malignancies. Until now the cord blood stem cells have been used as a source of transplantation for about 30 thousand transplants in the world. Because its availability is easy to obtain and its removal is not harmful to donors, making cord blood is an alternative source of stem cells that are widely used when other sources such as stem cells from bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells are not available.
In addition, because the cord blood stem cells are cells that are less mature (not yet “mature”) make them have a lower tolerance of HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) (not all HLA matches or the same) compared to other sources so that the risk of infection from External factors and risks for the occurrence of GvHD (Graft Versus Host Disease) are lower in cord blood stem cell transplantation. GvHD is a disease in which cells from a donor “attack” the recipient cell. The weakness of cord blood stem cells is the low number of total nucleated cells (TNCs) in cord blood which is generally only sufficient for transplantation of pediatric patients. The minimum amount of TNC required for each cord blood is 2.0 x 107 / Kg of the patient’s body weight, this is often a problem for adult patients with greater weight because the amount of TNC contained in one unit of cord blood is insufficient. The low level of TNC in cord blood stem cells can cause delayed recovery of diseased organ / tissue function and cause high rates of death due to transplant failure. So as to overcome the shortcomings of the number of TNCs, an alternative transplant is performed using two units of cord blood.
In these transplants, the cord blood unit was obtained from different donors so that HLA compatibility was also highly considered. In 2010 the first research from The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Minnesota regarding the use of two units of cord blood in leukemia transplants showed that the use of two umbilical cord blood units was able to handle leukemia and was safe and could be used as an alternative source of cell transplantation. when the dose of TNC in one unit of cord blood is insufficient for the patient.
Why is it so Important to do CD34 Calculations for Stem Cells from your Cord Blood?
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is widely used in the treatment of blood cancers, blood disorders and genetic disorders. Initially, bone marrow is the preferred source for transplantation. However, the use of peripheral blood stem cells and cord blood in reconstituting the balance of blood cell components has increased rapidly in the last ten years.
Hematopoietic stem cells have a typical molecule on their cell surface, the CD34 glycoprotein molecule. This molecule is a sign of the “existence” of stem cells and is a means to calculate the number of hematopoeitic stem cells that have been obtained from various sources of both bone marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood. Accurate CD34 + (read: CD34 positive) stem cell calculations are needed to calculate the dosage needed for stem cell transplantation. Thus, the success of stem cell transplantation is highly dependent on the results of calculating the number of CD34 + cells so that a trusted laboratory facility in calculating the number becomes absolutely necessary to support the transplant process. The number of CD34 + stem cells is an important component in monitoring stem cell transplantation.
Present and Future Cord Blood Transplantation
One of the important discussions in ISCT is the use of cord blood stem cells for therapy. The birth of the cord blood banking (government and private) in the world in the mid-1990s has had a major impact in the medical world. For approximately two decades, many cord blood transplants were carried out in the treatment of diseases related to blood disorders (hematology). Eliane explained that cord blood (CB) transplants are now widely used for patients with both malignant and non-hematological diseases. It was also explained that stem cells contained in cord blood were an important factor in the success of the transplant. Therefore, a CB unit is needed that has good quality. According to Eliane, it is necessary to have a cord blood bank that has good quality cord blood storage. This has been determined by FACT – the cellular therapy accreditation agency, in which the CB quality of this unit, in addition to taking into account the number of cells stored, also checks the ability of stem cells to colonize (CFU).