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Community Stem Cell Banking: A Parent’s Guide

6 min read

We are sure to go through different phases of life, and all of them need not be happy ones. Diseases and casualties come unannounced and might trigger nervousness and worry in our lives. Individuals have chances of being diagnosed with incurable diseases, and some can be cured by stem cells. Yes! Your stem cells can cure fatal diseases. According to facts, every human has a 5% chance of being diagnosed with diseases that can be cured by stem cells! Isn’t that amazing?
Well, now you must be wondering what stem cells are, how they work, and how to store them. Fret not, here’s a guide for you, read on

stem cell bank

What Are Stem Cells?

Just like a seed gives life to leaves, fruits, branches, trees, etc. stem cells have the potential to develop into blood cells, bone cells, brain cells, etc. Stem cells are unique, undifferentiated cells that have the potential to multiply and produce not only the same type of stem cells but also it can differentiate into other types of cellsStem Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. They are capable of multiplying rapidly.

How Do Stem Cells Work?

When your body is hit by illness or is damaged, the stem cells either replicate or heal the affected part and restore your body functions. Let’s understand this in detail.

  1. Potential: When humans first came into existence, the cell slate is blank. The primary cells, known as master cells, develop into different types of brain, bone, and blood cells. These form the body and are part of our nervous system, skin, bone, cartilage, sensory organs, and what not! These cells are responsible for different functions like producing blood, and some may even become host to other cells. Thus, stem cells have a lot of potentials.
  2. Regeneration: Cells in your body have different life cycles. Stem cells regenerate and host other cells to ease out the healing process.

Diseases Treated With Our Stem Cells

There’re multiple illnesses that your stem cells can cure. Some of the major ones are:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes, etc.

What Are The Options Available To Source Stem Cells?

Stem cells used in the research of reparative and regenerative medicines are sourced from –

  1. Human embryonic stem cells (hESC): Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are stem cells derived from blastocyte. Blastocytes are an undifferentiated mass of a human embryo. It is taken from unused human embryos, which are donated for the purpose of Vitro fertilization.  However, human embryonic stem cells can be utilized strictly with the authorization of the parents.  In this method, the blastocyte grows in a petri dish for six months. Eventually, it develops a cell line, which holds millions of stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, which means they are capable of growing into all the three main germ layers, that is, ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. To simply put, embryonic stem cells can develop into more than 200 cell types of the adult body
  2. Adult stem cells: This includes stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood, as well as blood and bone marrow of adults. They’re also known as somatic stem cells.

What Is The Difference Between Cord Blood And Adult Stem Cells?

Cord blood is different from adult stem cells. Cord blood has its own advantages and disadvantage when compared to adult stem cells.
The main advantages of cord blood are:

  • Unlike adult stem cells, cord blood cells are not exposed to any kind of disease. In that sense, we can say cord blood cells are puerile.
  • Unlike adult stem cells, it does not have to be exactly synchronized to the patient’s body as it can develop into different kinds of tissues.
  • Stem cells extracted from cord blood are young, which gives them the ability to regenerate faster and have more potential.
  • The possibility of side effects when transplanted is significantly less in the case of cord blood cells.
  • Cord blood stem cells can be stored easily and are fresh in simple words easily available in comparison to other stem cell sources.
  • Unlike adult stem cells, it can be easily collected without causing any pain to the donor.

The main disadvantages of cord blood are

  • It is hard to collect enough cord blood to transplant an adult
  • Cord blood stem cells are slow to engraft.

 List Of Public Cord Banks In India

Private or public firms can have possession of Umbilical cord banks. The private banks store the umbilical cord mainly to cure future diseases in the newborn child. On the other than public cord banks store donated cords and make use of it for research and treating disease in other people. Though people are well aware of the names of private cord banks (thanks to big celebrities supporting them), they are less aware of public cord banks. Therefore, here we are providing you list of public cord banks in India and ways to contact them.

Jeevan Stem Cell Bank (1995)
22, Wheatcroft’s Road (Second Floor)
Nungambakkam Chennai 600034. India
Phone: +91 44 4350 4246
Phone: +91 44 2826 3113
Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Life Sciences Center
TTC Industrial Area of MIDC, Sector 26,
Ghansoli, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra 400701
Phone: 022 6767 8000
The School of Tropical Medicine (STM)
108, Chittaranjan Avenue
Kolkata – 700 073
Phone: 033-2212 3697/98
StemCyte India
Apollo Hospital Campus,
Plot No.1A, Bhat GIDC Estate, Dist. Gandhinagar 382 428, Gujarat, India.
Phone: +91-79–6170 1001
Toll-Free: 1-860-4204206
 Life cell
#26, Vandalur Kelambakkam Main Road
CALL: 1800-266-5533 | SMS LifeCell TO 53456

Community Cell Banking: A Large Inventory Of Stem Cells

We all have heard about stem cell banking, but most of us aren’t fully aware of what it actually is. Let’s take a deep dive into it.

What Is Community Stem Cell Banking?

The community stem cell is a community wherein parents preserve their child’s cord blood. It is a complete solution that offers protection for your baby, sibling, parents, and grandparents from all conditions that can be treated using stem cells.

How Community Stem Cell Banking Works?

  • They can hold ownership for it, for a specific period, which differs from community to community.
  • Not only the baby, but the whole family will continue to have access to community donor stem cells during the duration of the contract.
  • The preserved stem cells for a public pool of stem cells can be accessed by the community
  • When needed, these stem cells can be used by the member of the community for a transplant for any of their family member

What Is The Need For Stem Cells From A Donor?

Now you must be wondering, if the community members use the stem cells of your baby, what will you do if you need them? Well, stem cells can regenerate. Even if a community member uses your baby’s stem cells, you can get them from the bone marrow, and they’ll regenerate and help in the ailment of the disease.
This means that your baby’s stem cells can have others to cure their diseases, which require donor stem cells. This means that storing stem cells has no risks, but only benefits!

What Is HLA Matching?

In need of a stem cell transplant,  HLA matching of patient and donor is conducted. There are six main proteins in white blood cells and tissues located inside one’s body. Doctors have to make sure all six proteins of patients and donors are identical.

What Is Bone Marrow Registry?

Finding a matched donor is the first significant challenge most patients face. Around 30% of cases, a matching donor can be picked from the patient’s family (like siblings) itself. The remaining 70% of patients, obviously, have to depend on a donor. Here comes the significance of bone marrow registries.
Bone Marrow Registry is a service that creates a database of similar HLA (human leukocyte antigens) donors. The service will be linked to registries of the same kind all over the world. Any patient needing a marrow transplant can access the information on the registry. And it is free of cost.

How Can I Join Bone Marrow Registry?

Mainly you should meet these guidelines.

  1. You must be aged between 18 and 50 years old.
  2. There should be no medical reason preventing you from being a stem cell donor.

A person can donate several times, as stem cells regenerate themselves.

Challenges Faced For Sourcing A Matching Donor –

 The only major challenge faced while searching for a stem cell donor is the size of the cells. The donor’s blood stem cells should have similar human leukocyte antigens (HLA) as yours. These are genetic markers.
Since the genetic markers are inherited, your siblings, with the same biological parents, can most likely be your donors. To ensure that they’re a match, a few DNA tests will be run. In spite of this, there’s a small chance that your sibling will be a perfect match donor for you.
If your sibling cannot donate, the center will start looking for an unrelated donor for you, wherein the same procedure will be repeated. If the HLA levels of the donor match yours, they’re the perfect donor for you!
We hope you find this information useful.

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