Small sample of umbilical cord blood could provide disease cures

World Today

Shannon Riley is a mother of two and pregnant with her third. She wants the best for her kids so she is considering banking her new baby’s umbilical cord blood, a relatively new procedure that stores a small amount of blood with the hope that in the future, stem cells from the blood may cure diseases.

These harvested stem cells are unique to the individual and the family, so if they are needed, a direct match is available.

Moments after the baby is born a small amount of blood is taken from the umbilical cord connecting baby and mom.

The blood is shipped to a facility like this where technicians extract stem cells from the blood and then freeze them at hyper low temperatures.

Robert Preti is Chief Scientific Officer at NeoStem, a company that processes and banks umbilical cord blood at a facility outside New York City.

Scientists hope that in the future they will be able to modify the genetic material in the stem cells and inject them back into the donor where they would help the child’s body regenerate cells, or even grow new healthy organs.

But these therapies don’t yet exist, so parents are gambling.

The biggest hurdle for most parents is the cost about $2000 for the collection and 125 dollars a year to store the blood.

In the end, Shannon Riley has decided not to bank her new baby’s cord blood. But she will continue to watch the science in case a fourth baby is in her future.

Small sample of umbilical cord blood could provide disease cures

Small sample of umbilical cord blood could provide disease cures

Shannon Riley is a mother of two and pregnant with her third. She wants the best for her kids so she is considering banking her new baby's umbilical cord blood, a relatively new procedure that stores a small amount of blood with the hope that in the future, stem cells from the blood may cure diseases.
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