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Why store the stem cells of the cord tissue?

Storing stem cells from cord tissue is an investment in the health of your children and of compatible family members. The preserved cells could indeed be used in the treatment of serious diseases. The fact that more than 30,000 stem cell transplants from umbilical cord blood are carried out around the world for the treatment of many diseases confirm the importance and scientific validity of preservation (1).
Unfortunately, today in Italy, where about 500,000 children are born per year, only 0.4% of available umbilical cord blood is stored in one of the Italian public banks. Private autologous banks keep less than 2%. This means that more than 97% of the umbilical cords that could be stored are, in fact, destined for disposal.

The Bioscience Institute and other private bank activities have always contributed to raising awareness of the importance of stem cell preservation, whether public or private.

1. Ballen KK et al. Umbilical cord blood transplantation: the first 25 years and beyond. Blood. 2013 Jul 25;122(4):491-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-02-453175

Embryonic and adult stem cells

There are two main types of stem cells: embryonic and adult. The cells that can be preserved by taking cord tissue are adult stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells

Embryonic stem cells are found in the embryo from conception until the fourth day of gestation. These are totipotent cells, that is, capable of giving rise to all types of specialized cells in the organism.

Adult stem cells

Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are undifferentiated cells that multiply to replace damaged cells and regenerate damaged tissues. Unlike embryonic stem cells, their use for therapeutic purposes is not controversial because it does not require the destruction of an embryo. In fact, it is possible to obtain them from a tissue sample taken from an adult or a child, as in the case of stem cells from umbilical cords.

Why store mesenchymal stem cells?

From Wharton’s jelly, a substance present in the cord tissue, it is possible to isolate mesenchymal adult stem cells which the Bioscience Institute keeps upon request by its customers.

It is also possible to preserve the cells present in the umbilical cord blood, which are hematopoietic stem cells, endowed with a marked plasticity.

Most types of cells in the body can be obtained from hematopoietic stem cells. Therefore, they could find application in therapies for diseases that affect many organs and tissues.

1. Ogawa M et al. Hematopoietic Stem Cells Are Pluripotent and Not Just “Hematopoietic”. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2013 Jun; 51(1): 3–8. doi: 10.1016/j.bcmd.2013.01.008

Allogeneic (heterologous) preservation from donation

The donation consists of making the stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood available to the community.

In this case, after verifying the suitability of the parents, the umbilical cord blood is collected at the time of delivery and the extracted cells are stored in an Italian public bank. If required, they are given to anyone who may need them for a transplant, after verification of compatibility.
In 2014, 19,459 units of cord blood were collected for donation, of which only 1,738 were frozen.

Why choose autologous conservation?

When stem cells are stored for the newborn, this is referred to as autologous storage. According to Italian legislation, if the newborn is affected by a pathology, he/she has the right to free autologous preservation at a public bank.

The Decree of 18 November 2009 lists the diseases that are currently treatable with stem cells from umbilical cord blood. However, if the newborn is healthy and the conservation request is made for preventive purposes, parents should contact foreign private laboratories, such as the Bioscience Institute.

Are you pregnant?

Are you thinking of storing your child's stem cells?

Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after the baby is born and is a valuable source of stem cells.

Until recently it was treated as “waste” and eliminated with hospital waste along with the placenta and the umbilical cord. It is currently used in the treatment of around 100 serious diseases.

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