Family values. The principles of matching.
The effectiveness of cord blood stem cell therapy depends on many factors, with one of the most important being stem cell matching. Doctors determine stem cell matching based on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) markers. Passed down from parents to their children, these markers act like cell fingerprints, letting the immune system know which cells belong in the body and which cells are foreign to it. If a patient’s HLA markers exactly match those of the new stem cells being introduced, the patient’s body will readily accept the cells. If the HLA match is close but not perfect, chances are still favorable that the patient’s body will accept the cells. By storing cord blood from each child, parents can increase the chance of finding the best source for a match.16