Umbilical Cord Blood
Umbilical cord blood, otherwise known simply as ‘cord blood’ or ‘placental blood’, is the blood that remains in the veins of newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta following birth. It contains valuable stem cells that can be used in a variety of medical treatments, such as regenerating healthy blood and immune cells after chemotherapy.
Cord blood stem cells, which are predominantly hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), are the key to building blocks of the human blood and immune system. In other words, HSCs have the potential to generate blood cells and cells of the human immune system. These cells are less prone to develop Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) after stem cell transplant because they are more primitive in nature. Hence the chance for serious complications is less compared to stem cells harvested from adults.
Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells
The umbilical cord itself is a rich source of stem cells, where its Wharton’s Jelly holds precious Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). These stem cells have been found to be very promising as it has beneficial properties that Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) may have restrictions in. MSCs have the ability to differentiate into bone, heart, nerve, cornea, fat and cartilage cells, and has been used for repairs of these organs. In the lab, it can be used to expand HSCs to make umbilical cord blood stem cells transplant available even to adults. Besides, MSCs also improve engraftment of HSCs when used together.