The Area Of Stem Cell Research Brings With It A Lot Of Controversy And Misinformation! With Studies Into Cord Blood And Use Of Cord Blood Transplants Comes For Some New Hope And New Possibility!
Introduction to Stem Cells
Cord Blood- Common Facts And Common Fictions
Cord blood has its fair share of fiction, but there are some important facts also. What stem cells are used for and the research and discoveries that surround them and their uses have been prevalent in the news for some time now. Controversy seems to surround most of what we hear as a society.
What if you have a child with a major disease or disorder?
If you are a parent who has been affected by the financial, emotional and spiritual burden of having to endure a disease that has taken over the life of your child, your whole life changes and if you do not have accurate information you may misunderstand or be unaware of all the possible treatments and benefits of these. Delving into the facts and fictions of cord blood would be one of the first places to begin your research.
You can get unbiased information from……
There are some very thorough websites that are maintained by neutral parties. These websites are a great place to begin the journey of seeking out accurate information that will separate fact from fiction.
You might simply have questions about cord blood and its potential uses, and a lot of the answers can be found on the Internet. If nothing else you can arm yourself with important questions for your child's caregiver or physician.
What are some differences between cord blood transplants and bone marrow transplants?
Countless studies have been completed regarding cord blood transplants, storage, and collection processes. It is true that a compatible cord blood donor is found in most cases a month faster than a bone marrow donor.
It is also true that typically it takes cord blood a week longer to engraft or establish a hold in a recipient than bone marrow. There are constantly new developments being made to improve all aspects of the engraftment of cord blood.
There are varying degrees of chemotherapy used before the transplant of cord blood and in some cases the bone marrow is depleted completely of its immune system support. And each case of cord blood transplants has varying elements.
Among cord blood transplants weighed against bone marrow transplant the long-term survival of recipients was comparable. With cord blood the dangerous part is waiting for the engraftment to occur.
As with any medical procedure you will always hear stories that sound "just too good to be true" cord blood transplant are not exempt from this happening. The facts are that there are risks with any treatment and there are risks that the treatment will not work to plan.
Do cord blood banks employ scare tactic or provide realistic information?
The big selling point for cord blood banks is considered by some a scare tactic. It pits a parent’s fear for their child to possibly someday contract cancer or some other disease or disorder, against the false truth that an infants own cord blood can guard them against this atrocity if it occurs.
If an adult person is thinking clearly there are far too many "unlikely" aspects to this scenario. However when a parent is fragile for instance a pregnant woman that is emotional this advertising tactic works.
Stems cells and their use are unique to each situation.
There are several diseases that respond very successfully to cord blood transplants. With stem cells there are typically unique factors involved in each case and thus each case should be treated as unique. Survival rates vary depending upon these unique factors.
With the new discoveries of cord blood research there comes mostly optimism and hope. New studies are being performed on a daily basis.
What we know now about the minimum dose of stem cells from cord blood needed for the incorporation of an entirely new immune system evolves as we continue to take strides in the directions of increasing cord blood knowledge.
What are the differences between a cord blood transplant for a child and an adult?
Typically cord blood transplants are performed on small children who typically use one unit of cord blood. But there have been cases where adults have received up to seven cord blood units at once.
There has been a case of a person given six mismatched blood types and one that matched. Eventually the blood of a person that receives a cord blood transplant will become all one type. And it may not always be the same type in which the recipient began life.
At what ages can a cord blood transplant be performed?
The cut off age for a person to be regarded by physicians as a potential recipient to receive a cord blood transplant is seventy years of age. There are many factors involved in the assessment of the donation of cord blood by banking facilities.
And there are also many factors to consider as to who will be a recipient. The mid-range age that most physicians go by in ruling a recipient is forty-nine years of age.
What does expanding stem cells do?
Expanding the amount of stem cells in cord blood makes it possible to transplant into larger patients but this has not been effective in increasing the speed of engraftment. A question asked most frequently is whether or not cord blood can be expanded 'in vitro' so that adult humans might benefit more from the practice of cord blood transplants. The fact of the matter is there have been adults who have survived a transplant of expanded cells.
On a final note ….
Most fictitious comments about cord blood are typically about cord blood banks and cord blood collection advertisements that are blowing facts about survival rates out of proportion with the real facts. We must always remember that not all diseases just go away because cord blood transplants can now be performed.
However there is a new hope to light the darkness of some diseases and their severity. Cord blood will continue for many, many years to come to be a hopeful potential for significant changes to continue to occur in the medical field.