Cord blood is a rich source of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). HSCs are routinely used by the NHS to treat diseases of the blood and immune systems, like leukaemia and neuroblastoma.
HSCs can cure illnesses such as sickle cell disease and are also being trialled as a treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s and stroke. They can even help the brain to repair itself following a trauma.
A generation ago, we knew that cord blood nourished our unborn babies during pregnancy but in the UK we gave little thought to what would happen to the umbilical cord after birth. Things have changed so rapidly that the answer to the question, “what can cord blood do?” might be different tomorrow than it is today.
The Parents’ Guide to Cord Blood currently lists over 80 diseases as treatable with cord blood, and another 63 conditions that are in clinical trials. Their video offers a helpful introduction to expectant parents who are considering cord blood banking: