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14 Days of Life: Stem Cell Research That Is Striking the Right Cord

by Tom McClusky - January 7, 2014

Today the Wall Street Journal focuses on an ethical form of stem cell research that deserves more attention - cord blood.  The blood within a newborn baby's umbilical cord contains young stem cells that can renew themselves and become specialized. These cord blood stem cells have been proven in treatment to help replace damaged blood cells with healthy ones and strengthen immune systems. Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing these stem cells for potential medical use.   To date, over 30,000 transplants have been performed using these amazing healing cells

 

The Journal has more:

 

Scientists are studying whether cord blood or cord tissues can treat certain autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as congenital heart disease and cerebral palsy. Experts caution that more studies are needed to prove whether cord blood is safe and effective for these uses, but some see initial signs of hope.

 

"The early data look very promising that this could be a useful new source of cells that could benefit a larger number of people," said John Wagner, a professor of pediatrics and director of the blood and marrow transplant program at the University of Minnesota. . . .

 

Cord blood can be collected with no risk to the mother or child and can be frozen and stored for many years. . . ."It's a disposable item that Mother Nature provides us with," said William Shearer, a professor of pediatrics and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine. "It's a renewable source. It's free and why not use it?" . . . Cord blood doesn't need to be as exact a match as bone marrow, making it easier for unrelated donors and recipients.

 

The list of diseases and maladies the article states that cord blood can possibly treat seems never ending.  Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, congenital heart disease, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, cerebral palsy as well as being used to help cancer patients recover from radiation treatments. 

 

To learn more about stem cell research that saves lives without taking lives visit StemCellResearchFacts.org.  On the site you can also here the stories like the following of people who have been treated:

 

Chloe- treated for cerebral palsy

 

 

Joe Jr., - treated for sickle cell anemia

 

 

Mary Lou- treated for leukemia

 

H/T The bare lipped bandit