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No, the contrary would maybe have some meaning. The stem cells from the blood of the umbilical cord are a valuable and irreplaceable material that are in use the last 20years and will be used in the future, completely genetically compatible with the child and with a great probability of being compatible also for other members of the family. The mesnchymal stem cells from the Wharton’s jelly are used today only experimentally. Given the fact that all the cells our body have the same genetic material if there is a genetic disease both types of cells will be diseased. These two types of stem cells are in quality the same ( healthy or diseased), they differ only in their uses.
Pay attention that the freezing of the whole part of the umbilical cord without prior process and separation of the cells, does not lead to the separation of the cells after post-thaw. By this way only the surface cells are preserved, while those that are in deeper layers die and their collection and administration to the patient is not possible. Therefore the freezing of the whole part of the umbilical cord is not a preferred way to store stem cells. The only available and safe method today for mesenchymal stem cells cryopreservetion from the umbilical cord is to cryopreserve.cells after separation and never tissue.
Contrary. More and more preclinical and clinic studies concerning the applications of stem cells are presented in medical literature. These studies raise daily the therapeutic applications of these cells. Today the use of stem cells is in the bounds of explosion and the parents that have stored their childrens’ stem cells are in a favorable position, since they can benefit from the evolution of technology. After the decoding of the human genome new ways of therapy and new specializations of medicine appear, as are gene therapy and regenerative medicine. The potential of stem cells to create tissue according to the area that they are implanted is well known. So according to studies, stem cells can lead to formation of blood vessels (Japanese Study Hints of Home-Grown Heart Bypasses," Reuters, November 7, 1999) in the area of myocardial infarction or to transform in neural cells and be implanted in area of the brain that has undergone a stroke or injury, or even be transformed in hematopoietic cells in cases of bone marrow replacement.
When a child doesn’t have banked stem cells, be sick and stem cells are needed, a brother or sister is the best chance to find stem cells suitable for transplantation. Stem cells from siblings are better matched in comparison with non related stem cells. Only in the case that no brothers or sisters exist the public bank take over to find a histocompatible non related graft. According to a study that was published on 1997, by Gluckman et al in New England Journal of Medicine, 337(6):373-38 , the survival of a patient who took related stem cells from the family for leukemia treatment was 63%, compare to 23% for those who were treated with unrelated stem cells.
Allogeneic transplantation has high risk of graft vs host disease, because of low histocompatibilty, even in the cases of laboratory matched grafts. For this reason, to avoid rejection of the graft, the patients take constantly immunosuppressant drugs with many side effects. The main advantages of use a related graft from the family is that the family knows the medical records, in the case of heredity or virus contamination that are checked more safely in the family. The most important is that the cord blood stem cells have better engrafted and low risk of rejection, because of the young age, so the HLA system has not be completed. Bone marrow on the opposite is more prone to rejection, even in the case of fully matched grafts because of their age.
The donation of a child’s stem cells from the parents maybe is an altruistic action to the society, but without child’s permission. On the other hand the child can donate its cells when it grows up and decided to donate to a relative or to the society. And this is another way for somebody to find a graft when he needs.
The parents donate their child’s stem cells, but in the case they ask from a public bank, even in the case they had donated in the past, the bank will charge them with 20000-30000 E per graft and no refunds in the case of rejection. This is an international policy. No matter of money, but the urgent to find a graft is the most important.
The time that one graft can be found by a public bank is not predicted and depends on the HLA type. The time is running against the patient and over 30% of the even matched allogeneic grafts are rejected by the immune system of the patient, because they are far away from the patient’s genome.
For all these reasons private banking is valuable for the whole family. The blood donation is different than the stem cell donation, because the blood replaced everyday, instead of stem cells that we can select just once and for lifetime.
Stem cells derived from the blood of the umbilical cord and placenta are collected completely pain free and without posing any danger to the child or the mother. Because these cells have the age zero they have the greatest proliferating and differentiating potential. Cord blood stem cells are collected by rule before the beginning of the disease and for this reason they are not carriers of the disease. Few healthy people and only for precaution matters will go through the painful procedure of the collection and storage of stem cells from bone marrow or adipose tissue. When the disease is presented this intake may be dangerous either due to the pharmaceutical treatment that may be administered to the patient or because the patient may be very exhausted and the adipose tissue is rare, or because the bone marrow has already been occupied by the disease. Furthermore the cells that will be collected will be old and with decreased therapeutic value.
Thousands autologous stem cells transplantations are performed every year, for disease like myeloma, lumphoma and solid tumors. Clinical trials for cerebral palsy and diabetes also use with safety umbilical cord blood stem cells. Research has shown that the possibility of leukemia development in a patient with predisposition is 1% and 99% of the persons with predisposition will never develop leukemia. So the possibility of 1% for someone who will take histocompatible graft from a public bank exists
Autologous transplantation is better than allogeneic, because the cells never rejected, are immediately available and there is not possibility to be contaminated with a virus. On April 2001 a child 10 months old with retinoblastoma (malignant tumor of retina) which was expanded to the spinal cord was treated successfully with its own stem cells from the umbilical cord. On the 2007 another child 3 years old with acute leukemia was treated successfully with its own stem cells. In both cases the families had cryopreserved their childrens’ umbilical cord blood. The result of the treatment in both cases was cure.
Autologous stem cells can not been used in treatment genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia. If the child has a genetic disease, the cells are not useful in transplantation or regenerative medicine. The only potential therapy using autologous stem cells in a child with genetic disease is the gene therapy, which up to date is in experimental stage. The child’s sick stem cells transformed to healthy by delivering corrective genes.
A sibling’s cord blood stem cells is the next best option, so it is very important every child in the family to bank its cells.