The stem cells in cord blood and cord tissue function differently. Cord blood contains Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) which form the blood-related cells in the body, like red blood cells, white blood cells, and bone-marrow. There are over 80 conditions that have been treated using HSCs and almost 200 clinical trials are currently underway. Cord tissue contains stem cells known as Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) which develop into structural and connective tissue. There are currently over 40 clinical trials underway investigating the potential therapeutic applications of MSCs from cord tissue.
There are three primary sources of stem cells that are only available just after a baby is born:
- Cord blood from the umbilical cord and placenta
- Cord tissue
- Placenta tissue
The type of stem cells that exist in cord blood from the umbilical cord and placenta are called hematopoietic stem cells (HPCs). The type of stem cell that is in cord tissue is called a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). Placenta tissue contains Hematopoietic and Mesenchymal Stem Cells as well as Pluripotent stem cells. Placenta tissue is immune-privileged which means that it is unlikely to be rejected by human immune systems because placenta is not recognized as a foreign body.
Why are mesenchymal stem cells important?
MSCs are not currently being used for medical therapies; however they are the subject of over 40 clinical trials. Research has indicated that MSCs hold the promise of being able to someday treat debilitating conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Lung cancer
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Injuries to bones and cartilage
Banking MSCs gives your baby and your family the opportunity to take advantage of future medical discoveries.