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Blood Cord Banks: Understanding Cord Blood Stem Cells

There has been plenty of news coverage and controversy about the excellent impacts that current research on cord blood stem cells is having on the the possibility of cures for a number of terminal diseases. Why are stem cells important? Stem cells have a great level of plasticity which means they can generate and regenerate into many different types of cells and even organs inside our bodies. Potentially, if they can be removed from the donor and transfused into the patient then in the future, stem cells could be used to cure virtually any illness.

Stem cells are more frequently found in babies or even in embryos although it has been discovered that adult stem cells do exist. These adult stem cells have been found in the brain but are dispersed freely amongst millions of other cells making the extraction of adult stem cells very difficult.

However, cord blood stem cells are simple to remove. The process is undertaken after the baby has been born and the umbilical cord cut so there is no effect on the baby or the mother.

Currently, leukemia and anemia are the two most common diseases treated with stem cell transfusions. Because of the increasing level of stem cell research, diseases such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and many different forms of cancer are also showing positive results.

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