The collection of umbilical cord blood has become more and more common over the last five to ten years as people are beginning to realize the value of the blood. Umbilical cord blood contains stem cells, cells that can provide healing and repair of the most damaging and life altering conditions and illnesses. Not only are there stem cells contained within the umbilical blood, they are different than the stem cells that can be found in adults and children that are even a little bit older.
Umbilical stem cells are different from other stem cells, though researchers are still not sure what all the differences are, or if there are more than they already know about. Research into the differences between umbilical stem cells and those derived from other sources is a very active area of interest, and it’s likely to continue to be until we understand all the differences.
Right now we know that umbilical cord stem cells are newer, and that typically means healthier. Stem cells have the ability to go into any area of the body and duplicate the cells there, repairing, and even curing disease and damage, so it’s easy to see why the youngest healthiest stem cells are desirable. In terms of health and effectiveness it seems as though the younger stem cells would be favorable, though adult stem cells are highly effective as well.
The great advantage to using umbilical stem cells is that they are healthy and strong, so they will continue to divide for longer periods of time, which is great! The longer one stem cell will continue to divide and create new healthy cells, the quicker one may heal and have damage repaired. New stem cells may also allow for fewer transplantations to be made because they do go on to divide for longer than adult or other stem cells do.
One thing that sets umbilical stem cells apart from others is that they are easy to access. Almost every new mother is given information about cord blood collection and preservation, making it an easy source of stem cells to be used in the future. If cord blood was collected from a majority of babies, there would be easy access to these stem cells if an accident or illness that warranted their use and we’d probably see a huge decline in so many life altering diseases. Every child has cord blood, so it seems that in an ideal world it would be collected for every child, giving them a back up plan of sorts when the worst occurs later on in life.
Cord blood stem cells are new, healthy, and just ready to start repairing damaged areas of the body. If cord blood collection could be made standardized for all children, it would be a great source of stem cells for every person, for whatever reason they may need stem cell transplantation.