28 May 2010

Cord Blood Bank: Will you get the deposit back?

Stem cells. To store or not to store?Olga Litvin, DaysRu
A lot is known about the incredible properties of stem cells today.

At the birth of a child, the umbilical cord is literally filled with blood, from the components of which bone marrow can be grown. If a child needs a bone marrow transplant in the future, then the biomaterial located in a special storage will be a real salvation.

Are the investments justifiedIt would seem that how can you give up such an important and useful thing?

But a pregnant woman who decides whether to take advantage of the opportunity to save cord blood, given only once in her life, learns that the family must make a decision that involves financial obligations.

The cost of the umbilical cord blood sampling procedure is $1000-2,500. The cost of storing biological material in a special bank is from $100 to $300 per year. It would seem that the amount is not catastrophic, but anything happens. A missed payment will result in the destruction of the biomaterial.

Here the family begins to think. Is it worth investing so much money in stem cells that are unlikely to be needed. The chances that the baby will suffer from ailments that require a bone marrow transplant – leukemia, lymphoma, serious immune system problems, heart disease, etc. – are 1 in 5,000 in the world and even lower in the USA.

In these diseases, donor bone marrow can be transplanted. But if you store your child's umbilical cord blood in a bank of biological materials, then many problems with transplantation can be avoided.

How important is it?The cells secreted from the umbilical cord blood are useless to anyone except the child who was attached to this umbilical cord, or his siblings.

It is no secret that today there are more frequent cases when mothers decide to give birth to a younger child in order to save the life of an older one.

Many parents today treat the issue of cord blood preservation as a kind of medical insurance and buy these services without any doubts.

And another important aspect: a few ounces of cord blood is enough to grow bone marrow for a child. When the child reaches puberty and gains weight, size can be a problem. Does the chance of contracting the ailments listed above decrease by the age of fifteen? Unfortunately, no.

Some parents choose an advance payment to store blood for 10-15 years, after which the material becomes useless. Although scientists are confident that during this period of time they will find a way to grow more bone marrow from a small amount of source material.

Is there an unambiguous answer?No. Scientists see prospects not only in the number of cells grown, but also in the possibilities of their use.

The list of diseases that can be treated with the help of bone marrow obtained from umbilical cord blood may be significantly replenished in the near future.

Recent experiments on stem cell treatment of childhood diabetes, which affects 8% of children in the United States, have been extremely successful. Arteriocyte and other companies of the same direction are working on a system that will allow growing enough blood cells from umbilical cord blood for traditional transfusion. Professor of the University of Munich, Dr. Ralf Sodian managed to grow a full-fledged heart valve from stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood. The University of California is conducting experiments on the treatment of hip necrosis with stem cells. With the successful completion of the experiment, people suffering from this disease will be able to avoid replacing the joint with a prosthesis.

So:The chances that your child will need a bone marrow transplant are low at the moment.

  • The cost of storing biomaterial is $3000-4000 (collection procedure and storage for 10-15 years).
  • The risk of side effects caused by the sampling process, although small, exists, besides, this issue has not yet been fully studied.
  • The list of options for using stem cells grown from cord blood is constantly growing, but there is still no guarantee that cord blood can be used for these purposes.
  • If a bone marrow transplant is necessary, umbilical cord blood can save a child's life. But it can also be scrapped because it contains too few stem cells to grow the necessary amount of bone marrow.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru28.05.2010

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