Are you preparing to become a mother? Congratulations, after the birth of a child - is a miracle. The miracle of the birth of a new life, so fragile and defenseless. And in your power to have the very first day of your birth crumbs - the day of his birth - to make him the most valuable gift that can save in the future not only health, but also the life of your baby. We are talking about stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood in the first minute after birth of the baby. Stem cell therapy has saved more than one hundred young lives.
Recently, this procedure becomes increasingly popular among the newly couples. However, despite this, for most parents-like cord blood sampling procedure is still a novelty. Although the cost of this procedure is not so high, and no risk for the child or for the mother there, and people continue to fence of umbilical cord blood is not more than some newfangled trend. Why is this happening, because the use of stem cells in modern medicine is widely spread?
In almost all cases, these misjudgments caused by nothing more than a simple lack of people have minimal information about what can be the use of stem cells. This is what will be discussed in today's article.
What are stem cells?
In the blood of any man, as well as in its tissues present a certain number of so-called cells - the precursors that are capable of unlimited reproduction and regeneration in absolutely any cell in the body. Simply put, from stem cell can turn out as a cell of bone or muscle tissue and blood cell or skin.
There are two types of stem cells:
Embryonic stem cells are those cells, which are extracted from tissue blastocyte - embryo in the early stages of development. This type of stem cells has a huge potential for rapid growth and differentiation. However, despite this, the use of embryonic stem cells gives rise to a great number of disputes they have a fairly high risk of cancer in the regeneration, there is the risk of immune rejection reactions and conflicts.
In addition, the important role played by the morally - ethical side of the issue - because for this type of stem cell needs a healthy embryo, which, respectively, lose the right to birth. Not everyone agrees on treatment that uses embryonic stem cells, which are obtained as a result of abortion - the purposeful termination of pregnancy. I agree that there is something to argue.
Those cells that are derived from different tissues already born human body (i.e. postnatally), have a lower potential to reproduce, since they are already used part of its natural capacity. However, in spite of this, modern medicine at this stage of its development for cell therapy is widely used is the type of stem cells.
Postnatal stem cells, in turn, are divided into two subspecies:
- Hematopoietic stem cells.
Called hematopoietic hematopoietic cells, which are part of the blood and provide oxygen transport to the tissues, blood clotting, immune system - protection against viruses, bacteria and other foreign agents. These cells are responsible for susceptibility or, alternatively, resistance to most diseases.
Mesenchymal or, as they are called, stromal stem cells have the ability to recreate any of the components of human tissue - like bone - cartilage and musculoskeletal and heart tissue, lung, stomach. Stromal stem cells, in contrast to forming, need to be cultivated, so that they have successfully bred.
Incidentally, according to the latest data of science in virtually all tissues of the body can be detected very same stem cells, albeit in different, sometimes very small amount. Even in such seemingly unusual fabrics as dental pulp, the hair follicle stem cells are also found. About the same tissues as muscle, nerve, amniotic fluid, peripheral blood, amniotic fluid and afterbirth, even can not speak.
However, despite this, for clinical use to produce a therapeutic effect are suitable stem cells is not obtained from all tissues, but only of those which comprise a sufficiently large number of cells - precursors:
- Bone marrow - it is indispensable as a source of mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells.
- Umbilical cord blood - it is the best source of hematopoietic cells.
- Adipose tissue, the stroma of the umbilical cord and placenta - they are a valuable source of mesenchymal cells.
The most widely used in medicine is received hematopoietic transplantation (hematopoietic) stem cells are obtained from umbilical cord blood cells, peripheral blood and bone marrow tissue. Today, the world is made more than 100 thousand transplanting stem cells derived from the aforementioned sources. The share of stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood colonies have 30% of all of these transplants. Human Stem Cell Institute constantly evolving and gaining momentum.
The greatest number of stem cell transplants were carried out in the treatment of cancer, including leukemia in children and adults, both acute and chronic. Feature treat cancer is that a strong pharmacological agents kill not only cancer cells but also quite healthy bone marrow stem cells of the patient. To a sick man went to the amendment, and needed a transplant of stem cells - either the donor or prepared in advance of their own.
And if in the recent past, stem cells are used mainly for the treatment of cancer patients, but now more and more scientists say that the results of numerous studies suggest that in the near future cell therapy will be used for fundamentally new approaches to the treatment of large the number of common diseases. For example, such as heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes.
Most bold predictions tipped as possible occurrence of treatment using cell therapy to date irreversible changes on the part of almost all vital systems - skeletal, nervous, muscular, endocrine and others. And even those tissues and organs that wear out simply from old age, the researchers also promise to restore all using the same stem cells. Although today these promises can be classified as "stem cells: Truths and Myths", all the evidence suggests that very soon the whole theory can be realized in practice. And then the cultivation of stem cells would be particularly relevant.
The principle of operation of stem cells
Of course, many people are interested in the principle of combating stem cells of the body with the disease. However, the vast majority of stem cells, with very few exceptions, do not treat the disease itself. They prepared for the role of bone marrow recovery, immune system and blood sick person after a pharmacological treatments and other major diseases.
As mentioned above, chemotherapy drugs kill not only cancer cells is a particular organ, but also quite healthy cells of the spinal cord, without which the body quite simply can not exist. A time to make transplantation literally saves the day - the newly introduced stem cells, once in the bone marrow, begin to multiply and take on the role of victims before the cells. As a result, the full functioning of the spinal cord is resumed almost in its entirety.
Incidentally, this feature of stem cells, doctors successfully used in the fight against a number of hereditary diseases, one way or another related to the disruption of the blood and immune systems or exchange. Doctors purposefully potent chemotherapeutic drugs destroy defective cells of the spinal cord. And in their place transplanted donor stem cells that regenerate healthy cells in the spinal cord. In order for the body of the sick person does not reject foreign donor stem cells, doctors conduct a series of preventive measures.
There are also a number of specific diseases for the full treatment that is sufficient to carry out the transplantation of autologous (own) stem cells prepared in advance. A very important positive quality of autologous stem cells is that they are not rejected by the body of the sick person, as they are 100% compatible in all respects. Thus, eliminating the need for lengthy and expensive therapies aimed at preventing the rejection response that is typical of cases of transplantation of donor stem cells.
To date, this kind of transplantation has been successfully used to treat more than 70 different diseases, including such as:
- Acute myeloid leukemia.
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia.
- Fanconi Anemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Various syndromes destruction of the bone marrow
- Different types of immunodeficiency.
- Chronic granulomatosis.
It is very actively conducting various research and development that will be successfully used stem cell transplantation for the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, traumatic brain and spinal cord. In addition, the injection of stem cells are already being used in cosmetics, but we will tell you about it another time.
Cord blood cells
Today is possible to get the best stem cells from the umbilical cord, in the first minutes after the birth of the child. These stem cells are the youngest and giving the best results compared to all the other cells of the postnatal origin. The umbilical cord blood in the vast majority are found hematopoietic stem cells. However, there are other kinds of stem cells that may be cultivated in the cells of the liver, kidney, heart, blood vessels or other vital systems.
What is umbilical cord blood? As you might guess based on the name, the umbilical cord blood stored in blood vessels and the umbilical cord and placenta lumens, the purpose of which is to ensure the exchange of substances between the body of the pregnant woman and the fetus.
To date, the most accessible and suitable source of stem cells is umbilical cord blood is
. From this is obtained mainly hematopoietic stem cells, which have virtually unlimited potential for differentiation and growth. Incidentally, the transplantation of stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood is a wonderful alternative to bone marrow transplantation. For example, in Europe every second case of transplants is a stem cell transplant is extracted from the umbilical cord blood.
Too many parents refuse to collect cord blood, believing that their child such a disaster as a serious illness, do not touch. In part, they're right - the risk that the child is healthy at birth, grows ill with acute leukemia, is very small - no more than 1: 10,000. But, nevertheless, the growth of the child, including in the adult his age, the likelihood of the disease the disease, for which treatment may be needed stem cells, especially considering the fact that this list is constantly growing, increases hundreds of times. Liver and kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, certain age-related changes - these diseases are daily beset huge number of people.
Of course, if necessary, doctors will be able to carry out transplantation of donor stem cells. But do not forget that the donor cells, it does not say, still are foreign, so very high risk of rejection process. In addition, the first available stem cells will not work - at times in the search for a donor takes a huge amount of precious time, and is like "pleasure" is not so cheap.
Arguments in favor of cord blood sampling
In the case of use for transplantation of cord blood cells of the sick person has a huge advantage over donor transplantation - complete genetic identity of body tissues. With this removed a number of issues and problems. Thus, keeping the umbilical cord blood of their newborn baby, parents provide the child a kind of biological and medical insurance for the rest of his life. This position is also fully confirmed by a number of the following factors:
Stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood, frozen can be stored for more than one or two decades, but much longer.
- Ready to various diseases.
Of course, that most likely neither you nor your child, and maybe your grandchildren will not need the stem cells had in my life. In any case, I like to hope so. But, alas, all too often physicians are confronted with cases where the child's mother, suffering from cancer, had to urgently give birth of her second child. But no doctor, and nature itself, can not give such a desperate women ensure that older and younger child will be genetically compatible. In the same case, if the parents are taken care of in a timely manner on the collection of umbilical cord blood of their child, they will never have the need to go to such an extreme measure.
- Quick access to the stem cells.
In the event that your child still need a stem cell transplant, the doctor will only need to extract them from a special container and unfreeze without spending time searching for a compatible donor, alas, often completely useless.
Many parents are confused by the need to pay a certain amount of storage for the storage of stem cells of their children. But do not forget that this cost is hundreds of times higher than the search for and acquisition of donor stem cells, which may not be suitable for your child.
- The potential of stem cells.
Stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood of the child, are the youngest, so they better than all others not only reproduce but also restore damaged tissue of the human body.
- Sterility and safety of stem cells.
Chances are that the cord blood will be infected during fetal development - are minimal. Statistics show, cytomegalovirus or herpes virus found in umbilical cord blood is not more than one percent of all cases. In the blood of adult man same viruses found in approximately 30% of all cases. After the placenta is almost impossible to penetrate even the ubiquitous herpes viruses - they are hardly detected in the blood of newborns whose mothers were infected.
- The possibility of stem cell transplantation blood relatives of the child.
Unfortunately, the disease for which treatment is required stem cell transplantation, can trap any person. And it may be a close blood relative of the child - father, mother, brother or sister. Stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood transplantation kin give a much smaller percentage of rejections than, for example, bone marrow transplantation or stem cell is completely alien. Thus, keeping the stem cells crumbs, parents not only to protect the health of the baby, but also his entire family.
Terms of donor selection
On the question of the transplantation of stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood of the child, not his own, and his blood relatives, it is focus. Parents often wonder whether this is possible and in principle. Doctors - Transplantation respond unequivocally: Yes, it is possible. Chances of successful completion of transplantation and achieve success in similar, related, the cases are much higher than the other.