Stem cells can be found in many places, including:
- Bone marrow
- Circulating blood
- Umbilical cord blood
These sources are free from controversy and ethical issues and are used every day as a treatment for patients with cancers and other diseases.
Stem cells are called the “building blocks of life” because they can become virtually any cell, tissue or organ in your body. For example, during stem cell transplant, a common treatment for certain cancers like leukemia, transplanted stem cells regenerate into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, and help restore a healthy blood and immune system.
Why are cord blood stem cells so important?
Cord blood is easier to collect than bone marrow, and when privately banked, is immediately available if it is needed. More than 80 diseases can be treated with cord blood or other stem cells.
Your baby’s own cord blood stem cells will always be a perfect match. And because cord blood stem cells are “less mature” than bone marrow or circulating blood stem cells, they are more likely to match siblings or other relatives. And, according to recent studies, using cord blood stem cells as an alternative to bone marrow stem cells lowers the risk of graft vs. host disease, or stem cell transplant rejection.
Because cord blood stem cells are taken from a source that is safe and controversy-free, families are encouraged to save this valuable resource.