How Is Cord Blood Used Today?
Cord blood stem cells have been used in transplant medicine for over 30 years and can help treat nearly 80 conditions today. In transplants cord blood stem cells helps rebuild a healthy blood and immune system that has been damaged by disease.
Over the last few years, cord blood use has expanded beyond transplant medicine into areas of regenerative medicine in clinical research trials for conditions once thought untreatable, like autism and brain injuries.
Regenerative medicine uses cord blood in a different way than transplant medicine does. Instead of rebuilding a new blood and immune system, like in transplants, cord blood is being used in clinical trials to potentially regenerate or facilitate repair by stimulating the body's self-healing's abilities.
Both cord blood and cord tissue stem cells are being used in regenerative medicine clinical trials for conditions that have no cure today. It's a very exciting time for cord blood banking and cord tissue banking and the perfect time to bank your baby's umbilical cord stem cells.
Using Your Baby's Cord Blood
There is often confusion over who can use your baby's cord blood. The short answer is both your baby or a sibling could potentially use it, but it very much depends on the condition being treated. Ultimately it is the treating physician's decision.
Your baby may be able to use his or her own cord blood in the treatment of certain non-genetic diseases and cancers. Participation in some clinical trials require children to have access to their own cord blood. Possible uses include:
Neuroblastoma | Autism | Cerebral Palsy
A sibling in need of a stem cells donor may be able to use your baby's cord blood. Treatments using cord blood from a family member are about twice as successful as those from a non-relative. Possible uses include:
Blood Disorders | Cancers | Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes
Cord Blood Use For Your Baby
Proven Treatments & Regenerative Medicine
There are some diseases on the list proven cord blood uses list (like neuroblastoma cancer) where a child could use his or her own cord blood. However, most of the diseases on the proven treatment list are inherited genetic diseases. Typically, a child with a genetic disease who is in need of a transplant would require a cord blood unit from a sibling or an unrelated donor.
Recently we've seen many children use their own cord blood in a new area known as regenerative medicine in clinical research trials for conditions like autism and cerebral palsy. 104, 109 Unlike in transplants, where cord blood stem cells are used to rebuild a new healthy blood and immune system that's been damaged by disease, cord blood in regenerative medicine is infused in the patient with the hope that it stimulates the body's own repair system.
In fact, over 200 ViaCord families have participated in this exciting research. For some families it's made a world of difference.
Learn more about cord blood use in regenerative medicine research
Cord Blood Use In Transplant Medicine
Cord blood contains many types of stem cells, but the primary type is Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs). HSCs are “blood forming” cells that make up our blood and immune system and can turn into: red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. HSCs can also be found in bone marrow. When used in a transplant, Hematopoietic Stem Cells can help ‘rebuild’ a new healthy blood and immune system in the patient in need.
As of today, the use of cord blood has proven to be effective in helping treat nearly 80 conditions including: cancers, blood disorders, bone marrow failure syndromes, metabolic disorders, and immune disorders.
Advantages of using Cord Blood in Transplants
The umbilical cord provides an easy and non-invasive way to secure HSCs, unlike securing them from bone marrow, which is an invasive and painful procedure.
Young & Pristine
The stem cells collected moments after birth haven’t been exposed to other elements like disease or aging, that can impact them later in life.
Research shows that transplants using cord blood from a family member are about twice as successful as transplants using cord blood from a non-relative.17
Fast Facts: Cord Blood & Transplant Medicine
The first successful transplant was performed on a six-year-old boy suffering from the blood disorder “Fanconi’s Anemia.”
Over stem cell transplants worldwideusing cord blood from both donor and private family banks.106
Over 200 ViaCord families have used their banked cord blood in a transplant
88% - at 1 Year
In transplants, cord blood units banked by ViaCord have a great track record with the highest published transplant success rate in Family Banking - 88% at 1 year. 9b
What about cord tissue?
Cord tissue is not quite ready for prime time yet, but excitement is growing around its potential
Excitement about cord tissue's potential to help conditions affecting cartilage, muscle and nerve cells continues to grow.19 Researchers are focusing on a wide range of potential treatment areas, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, liver fibrosis, lung cancer, and sports injuries. Since 2007 there have been 250+ CT-MSC trials worldwide for a wide range of conditions.
There is a high likelihood that immediate biological family members could benefit from the baby’s cord tissue stem cells, with parents having a 100% likelihood of being compatible, siblings having a 75% likelihood of being compatible, and grandparents having a 25% likelihood of being compatible.16,50 Another reason why parents today are choosing to bank their baby's cord tissue for the future.