Cord blood: Answers to your 10 most-asked questions

 1. What is cord blood?
Cord blood, or umbilical cord blood, is the blood remaining in your child's umbilical cord following birth. It is a substance rich in stem cells, the building blocks of the blood and immune system.

2. What are stem cells?
Stem cells can divide to become other types of cells. The stem cells found in umbilical cord blood and bone marrow can divide and become red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. They have been used in the treatment of over 45 different cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders.

More opportunities are being discovered every year but, since each case is different, there is no guarantee that a cord blood transplant will be an appropriate treatment therapy or that it will provide a cure.

3. How are stem cells used in medicine?
Stem cells are used therapeutically for their ability to help restore function to the blood-making and immune systems. This is especially valuable when the systems have been damaged by radiation or chemotherapy.

 

4. What types of diseases are treated with stem cell transplantation?
There are over 45 different cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders that are currently treatable with stem cell therapy.

5. Are cord blood stem cells different from other stem cells?
Cord blood stem cells are unique in that they have been found to be successful in transplant cases when the blood type is only a near match, as opposed to stem cells found in bone marrow, which require an exact match from donor to recipient.

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