A Stem Cell Is Like The Stem Of A Plant:
Here’s an easy way to understand stem cells. Imagine the stem of a plant that grows, branching out into leaves, flowers and fruits. On windy days, the branches can break. In some seasons the leaves dry up and fall. Despite this wear and tear, the stem finds a way to grow back to its original Self.
Similarly, stem cells are the very foundation of the human body. Every part of our body including blood, bones, skin and muscles are formed from master cells known as stem cells.
The reasons to save newborn stem cells are as varied as the families that choose to bank. However, there are several common reasons expecting parents decide to save their baby's umbilical cord blood and tissue with a family bank.
Promising Research in Regenerative Medicine
In addition to saving lives through stem cell transplants, cord blood stem cells have properties that have been shown in the laboratory to help the body repair itself - known as regenerative medicine. It's estimated that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. may benefit from regenerative therapy in their lifetime.
Currently there are over 230 clinical trials evaluating newborn stem cells for the treatment of various conditions, many of which can’t be predicted by family history.* When stored properly, newborn stem cells will not "expire".44 45 They remain safe and ready for future use, which means their benefits can last a lifetime.
A Perfect Match
Every person’s stem cells are unique. A child is always a perfect match to his or her stem cells and may be a match for a sibling or other family member.
Private banking is especially valuable for families that may have difficulty finding matches using a public bank. It is more challenging to find matches in the public banking system for ethnic minorities, people of mixed race, and children without access to a biologically related family member.
Requirements for treatments vary. In some cases, a child may use their own stem cells. In others, a matched sibling's stem cells would be the first choice. Ultimate use of newborn stem cells will be determined by the treating physician who will consider if they are applicable for the condition. To be best prepared for the unexpected, save cord blood for every child.
Cord blood stem cells have advantages over bone marrow in transplants and have been used in more than 30,000 transplants to regenerate healthy blood and immune systems.68 Today, stem cell therapies continue to evolve, bringing new hope to patients and their families.