Collecting Stem Cells for Cartilage Regeneration: What are the Benefits?

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The lead-up to the birth of your baby can be both the happiest and most stressful time of your life. For modern-day parents, it quickly becomes a very complicated phase of life. Not only must you attend pre-natal classes, choose between endless items of baby paraphernalia and strategize a detailed birth plan, you now have the opportunity to save your baby’s stem cells. 

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What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are located in various living tissues including the placenta, umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid plus early embryonic and fetal tissues. Stem cells are critical to our health for our entire life. They are solely responsible for the generation of new tissue. New tissues support the growth and development of the human body when young. Stem cells also facilitate repair and regeneration of aged, damaged and diseased tissues as we grow older.

While stem cells do reside in adult tissues, scientists have found they only develop into cells of the same tissue (e.g., blood stem cells can only develop into new blood cells, not cells of other types). On the other hand, stem cells from umbilical cord bloodare a rich source of both hematopoietic stem cells (for generating red blood cells and immune cells) and mesenchymal stromal cells (which develop into bone and cartilage).

Advances in stem cell cartilage regeneration are increasing thanks to the science of regenerative medicine. Medical breakthroughs in stem cell science are occurring rapidly from laboratories around the world. 

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Diseases of Cartilage

Diseases or injuries involving cartilage include some of the most immobilizing and chronic conditions in health care, including osteoarthritis and joint injuries. All are medically challenging. They are both difficult to treat and recover from, leading to pain, limited movement and joint deformities. There are three main reasons for this:

  • Cartilage is avascular (without a blood supply from blood vessels).
  • Cartilage is aneural (without a nerve supply).
  • Cartilage is alymphatic (without a lymphatic vessel supply).

Because cartilage lacks a blood, nerve and lymphatic supply, healing is notoriously difficult or incomplete. Nutrients and other therapeutic substances cannot be delivered to the area of damage, and cellular waste is difficult to remove. Researchers from Kansas State University believe “stem cells are the next frontier in medicine” with a therapeutic potential for replacing and rescuing “damaged and dysfunctional cells” and/or “delivering therapeutic proteins after they have been engineered to do so.” 

Sourcing stem cells from umbilical cord blood has many advantages. There are fewer problems involving identical tissue matching, it can be stored easily or banked, it is completely non-invasive and painless to collect soon after birth. These stem cells can be stored and thawed decades later for therapeutic use.

Imagine having the option of treating cartilage disease or damage with stem cells collected at the time of your birth. This is something you can now offer to your own children. There is potential to help with your children’s health long after their childhood years as they grow into adulthood.

Would you like more medical information on stem cell cartilage regeneration and cord blood storage? You can access the benefits of this service to you and your growing family by visiting our Americord website

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