Preserving Umbilical Cord Blood for Long Term Use
How long should you store your child’s stem cells? Many parents wonder how long they should store their child’s umbilical stem cells. Researchers have discovered that the lifesaving characteristics of these stem cells can also benefit adults. Crystal Day, a 30-year-old architect from Seattle was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2010. Originally, she […]
How long should you store your child’s stem cells?
Many parents wonder how long they should store their child’s umbilical stem cells. Researchers have discovered that the lifesaving characteristics of these stem cells can also benefit adults.
Crystal Day, a 30-year-old architect from Seattle was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2010. Originally, she had undergone chemotherapy to treat the disease. After 3 years of remission, her doctor discovered that her cancer had returned. They informed Day that chemotherapy alone would not work. If she wanted to actually beat the leukemia, she would need to have a stem cell transplant.
Crystal was approached by Dr. Colleen Delaney from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center about treating her leukemia with umbilical stem cells. With assistance through the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Day received her cord blood transplant and has been leukemia-free for almost two years. “The adaptive nature of the cells, and low side effects from the transplant, have given many patients like Day a second chance at life” says Delaney, a champion of cord blood stem cells for the past 15 years.
The product — more fully described as an ex vivo expanded umbilical cord blood stem cell product — uses blood stem and progenitor cells from umbilical cord blood. These stem cells have the potential to develop into any blood or immune cell the body needs.
The infusions of cord blood and expanded cell product are given through an IV, much like any blood transfusion. Once transplanted, Day’s new cells engrafted more quickly than average — about two weeks later — and she was out of the hospital in just four weeks.
Day said she wished that she had the cord blood stem cells option with her first bout with leukemia.
For Gregg Gordon, it started with two bumps under his chin that would not go away. After meeting with his doctor, the 49-year-old New York father of two discovered he had leukemia. With limited options for a bone marrow transplant – Gregg learned about the innovations in cord blood stem cells therapy. Gordon was treated with a new cord blood stem cell product designed to reduce his risk of complications and speed his recovery.
People with blood cancers like Crystal Day and Gregg Gordon traditionally have undergone chemotherapy to eradicate the blood cells that are causing the cancer. The collateral damage is that most, if not all their healthy blood cells are destroyed too. The stem cells from cord blood are used to repopulate the patient’s circulatory system with healthy blood cells and can help finish off any remaining cancer cells that survived the chemotherapy.
Research has shown that umbilical cord stem cells trigger rapid production of CD4 cells, the white blood cells that orchestrate the immune system response to infectious particles, like cancer cells, which attack the body. These recent studies have shown that umbilical cord blood stem cells not only engraft at higher rates (reducing the risk of graft versus host disease – GvHD) but also kill cancer more quickly than adult stem cells.
By storing your baby’s cord blood and cord tissue, you have the ability to help your child throughout their lifetime.
- ‘Something everyone can get’: New spinoff to commercialize cord blood stem cell therapies
Dec. 3, 2015 By Susan Keown / Fred Hutch News Service
THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.