Benefits of Banking

Cord blood and cord tissue preservation is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. OBGYNs play a central role in helping patients understand the benefits of banking, as each family has a different genetic background and family history. As newborn stem cells have such varied and growing therapeutic potential, it is crucial that expectant parents be made aware of what these life-saving stem cells can do.

Benefits of Cord Blood

Since the first cord blood transplant performed for a child with Fanconi’s anemia in 1988, over 35,000 cord blood transplants have been performed world-wide.4 The number of cord blood stem transplants annually has increased in recent years. In 2000, only 1% of all transplants involved the use of cord blood stem cells. Cord blood transplants are involved in 22% of all stem cell transplants and now make up nearly 50% of all pediatric transplants.3 Cord blood has also been used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases.2 While many of these diseases are genetic in origin and cannot be treated with an autologous unit, the best method of treatment is often a well-matched unit of cord blood from a sibling. There are no guarantees that cord blood will be a match for a family member. However, based on Mendelian genetics, there is up to a 75% chance that siblings will provide an HLA match of 3:6 or higher.16

Benefits of Cord Tissue

Umbilical cord tissue represents a unique, easily accessible, and noncontroversial source of naïve and potent mesenchymal stem cells that can be readily manipulated. If properly processed in a treatment ready form, preclinical evidence from over 50 studies supports the potential utility of cord tissue-derived stem cells in the future.19,41 The ability of cord tissue MSCs to differentiate into multiple cell types (including neurons, endocrine cells, cartilage, bone, hepatocytes, fibroblasts, and others) is the basis for preclinical therapeutic studies in a number of disorders including Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, liver fibrosis, stroke, lung cancer, and sports injuries involving cartilage damage.20-26