In the past, after a woman delivers a baby, the umbilical cord is cut and thrown away or buried. But scientists have discovered that the blood in the umbilical cord contains stem cells and can be used in the place of the blood from bone marrow transplant. This blood from the umbilical cord is what is now referred to as ‘cord blood’.
Many patients especially children world over have been treated with cord blood and the results are very impressive. The future is bright for those in need of cord blood transplant.
Uses of cord blood
Cord blood has been used to treat leukemia, inherited diseases relating to the red blood cell and many other diseases that affect the immune system.
The major problem associated with cord blood is that the blood in an umbilical cord contains less stem cells compared to the blood in the bone marrow. This makes it very ineffective when using cord blood transplant on adults. Even when more cord bloods are gotten from two umbilical cords, the resultant effect on adults is not very encouraging. So cord blood transplant is more effective on children than on adults.
Scientist are seriously researching on the possibilities of using cord blood stem cells to replace organs like the human heart and other internal organs , if this can be achieved, then it will go a long way to curb the incessant and increased demand for organ donors.
So as it stands now, umbilical cords are now very important in treatment of certain disease so the demand for it is high. Soon people will no longer discard or bury it as cord blood banks will be established everywhere.