The cord blood: What You Should Know
The cord blood is present in the blood vessels of the placenta and umbilical cord, and is collected after the baby is born and then cut the umbilical cord; an important detail.
"Because cord blood is usually collected after delivery and after cutting the cord, intervention is generally safe for both mother and baby," says Dr. Keith Wonnacott, PhD, Branch Chief Therapies Office Phones Cell Therapies, Tissue and Genetic FDA.
The use of cord blood is only approved for interventions "hematopoietic stem cell transplantation," which was performed in patients with disorders of the hematopoietic (blood producing). The cord blood contains blood cell production can be used to treat patients with cancers of the blood such as leukemias and lymphomas, as well as certain blood disorders and immune system, such as stem cells of sickle cell anemia and Wiskott-Aldrich
"The cord blood is useful because it is a source of stem cells that are transformed into blood cells. Cord blood transplants can be used for people who need feedback, ie ´re-produce´ these cells producing blood cells, "says Dr. Wonnacott.
For example, in many cancer patients, the disease is found in the blood cells. Chemotherapy to treat these patients undergoing cancer cells eliminates both as producing healthy stem cells of blood cells. Transplantation of umbilical cord stem cells can support the regeneration of blood cells following chemotherapy.
However, the cord blood is not a cure-all.
"Given that cord blood contains stem cells, have been several cases of fraud related to cord blood," says Dr. Wonnacott. "Consumers think that stem cells can cure all diseases, but science has not shown this to be true.Patients should maintain skepticism if the cord blood is available for uses other than blood regeneration by stem "cells.
Information about the storage of cord blood
After obtaining the cord blood is frozen and can be stored safely for many years. "The method of freeze-called ´criopreservación´-is very important to maintain the integrity of the cells," says Dr. Wonnacott. "The cord blood will be stored with care."
Blood from the umbilical cord can be stored in a private bank, so it is available if the baby in the future-or relatives of first or second degree, they need it. The private cord banks typically charge for the collection and storage of blood.
Alternatively, blood can be donated to a public bank so that doctors can use to treat patients who need blood stem cell transplants.
The FDA regulates the cord blood in different ways, depending on its origin, processing level and intended use.
The stored cord blood for personal use, use in relatives of first or second degree, and that also meets other requirements of the FDA regulations, does not need the consent of this body before being used. Still, private cord banks must comply with other requirements of the FDA, including those that require them to register and enroll in the listings, be updated on the proper use of tissues standards, testing and analysis and detection of diseases infectious patients (except when the cord blood is going to be used by the original donor). These FDA requirements ensure the safety of these products to minimize the risk of contamination and transmission of infectious diseases.
The cord blood is stored to treat patients with unrelated donor is eligible to be considered a "drug" and a "biological product". The cord blood in this category must meet additional requirements and be authorized in accordance with a Biologics License Application, or be subjected to research new drug application before it can be used. The FDA requirements help ensure the safety and efficacy of the products in their intended uses.
Not all units of cord blood meeting the requirements necessary to be stored in a public bank, added Safa Karandish, MT, safety officer for the FDA Consumer. If this happens, part of the donated cord blood may be used for non-clinical research.
Tips for Consumers
If you are considering donating to bank cord blood, it is important to study the various options during pregnancy to have enough time to make a decision before the baby is born. If you want to donate to a public bank, ask if the hospital will give birth in a program storage of cord blood.
If you have questions about the risks and the procedures followed to obtain blood, or the donation process, ask your doctor.
The FDA also has a database which is available with information on banks registered cord blood.
All assertions that the cord blood is a miracle cure is not created; it is not. Some parents may consider using a private bank as an "insurance policy" against diseases that may arise in the future. But it is important to remember that currently the only approved use of cord blood is the treatment of hematologic (blood disorders).
Also good to know that, in some cases, the cord blood is stored may not be appropriate for the child who donated."For example, it is not possible to cure some diseases or genetic defects with cord blood containing the same disease or defect," says Karandish.
Parents of children from ethnic minorities should especially consider donating to a public bank, says Dr. Wonnacott, because the more donations make these groups receive more help minority patients who need a stem cell transplant. (Recipients must be "compatible" with donors so that doctors are more likely to find a good candidate among donors within the ethnic group of the receiver).
"As far as public banks is concerned, there is a clear need for cord blood," says Dr. Wonnacott. "And there is a need especially among minorities to have stem cell transplants. The cord blood is an excellent source of stem cells for transplantation. "
And these transplants can change the lives of patients.