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28Feb/11Off

Is saving cord blood a waste of money?

Is saving cord blood a waste of money?

Ever since the concept of  cord blood stem cell therapy appears, it has been packaged by the cord blood banking business industry as "the way" to treat a variety of of serious diseases. Therefore,  many parents are willing to pay to save their child's cord blood as an additional health coverage for their newborn.  However, a well-known stem cells scientist questioned the efficacy of cord blood and stated that it may have been exaggerated. He urged parents to think seriously before making a decision to save cord blood to avoid a waste of money.

Agence France-Presse reported that Irving Weissman, the director of   California Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute of Stanford University, had stated, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, that cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells. It is  just enough to maintain the blood of a young child. Cord blood hematopoietic stem cells  can also derive stromal cells (Mesenchymal cells), its ability is limited to  create scars, bone, and adipose tissue, but not to the extend of producing brain, blood, heart and skeletal muscle (skeletal muscle), as some had stated. Weissman also criticized that some cord blood banks charge a lot of money for umbilical cord blood storage, claiming that cord blood stem cells can be used to treat serious illness; without mentioning the fact that medical expenses can be costly when it comes to stem cell transplant and treatment, which may not be something every family can afford. In addition, some countries have public cord blood bank. Cord blood is collected through donation. Cord blood is available to the public to those in need. Therefore, the cost- effectiveness of saving cord blood is  something parents should consider. U.S. National Institutes of Health had estimated the need for a newborn to use his/her own cord blood is 1 to 20,000.

Cord blood not enough to treat leukemia during adulthood.

Other research data have shown that leukemia patients that were successfully treated with cord blood transplant were  mostly children under the weight of 40 kilograms.  This is due to the fact that hematopoietic stem cells contained in cord blood are just enough to treat a child. Therefore, if someone is diagnosed in adulthood,  save cord blood is usually not enough.