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The development of umbilical cord blood

The development of umbilical cord blood:

Cord blood storage has become more common in recent years.  In 1992, the first publicly-funded cord blood bank was established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cord Blood Donation Program was formed.  Since then, more and more publicly and privately funded cord blood banks has beginning to emerge.  In the private areas, a major U.S. private cord blood bank claimed that the company has processed and stored the cord blood of  "more than one hundred seventy-five thousand newborns." In private cord blood banks, usage of cord blood is  mainly within members of the the family.  It can be used as autologous transplantation (use within oneself) and allogenenic transplantation (use within biologically related family members). Over the years, many brothers and sisters of children underwent successful cord blood transplantation.  Most medical professional agree that the recovery process would be more successful if cord blood comes from biologically-related donors.

Future applications of cord blood:

In 2001, a total of $330 million US dollars has been invested in the global stem cell industry. An important research piece is umbilical cord blood stem cells. Besides medical research, it is also used in regenerative medicine and cosmetic medicine.  Now scientists are most interested in the use of cord blood stem cells to cultivate the activity of cells or tissues and transplant into the body, so that damaged body organs and tissues can be regenerated.  So, from another perspective, the role of stem cells in the human body is like our "body maintenance engineers", aged and damaged organs may be repaired.

Main research areas:

Genetic therapy: the use of recombinant treatment of genetic diseases or genetic defects;

Regenerative therapy: the following diseases may be treatable in future years by using regenerative therapy: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, stroke, spinal cord injury, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, anti-aging and skin regeneration.