Stem cell banking - For the unforeseen
- By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi
Regenerative Medicine is an upcoming branch of modern medicine. It is a futuristic specialty and holds a lot of promise. If things go well, the research studies being carried out currently can change the way diseases are treated in the future.
Stem cells are the basic cells from which the immune system, blood system, and various tissues and organs develop. These stem cells are found in abundance in the umbilical cord of the baby. Researchers believe that these cells from the umbilical cord can be collected at the time of delivery and stored under special conditions, and the process is known as cryopreservation. They can later be used to treat a variety of diseases regarding the child or other blood relatives.
A human being is born with the natural resources to cure diseases. These resources are found in the blood in the umbilical cord and the tissues of the cord. These cells have the ability to cure several diseases like osteoporosis, blood cancers, diabetes, etc. -based on future research.
Repairing or re-growing the damaged tissues and replacing them in the human body is a relatively new area of research. The stem cells obtained at birth are perfect in this scenario. As of now, most of the replacing or transplant operations undergo failure as the body's immune system doesn’t accept the foreign tissue and rejects it. The stem cells are the body's own cells and hence regenerated tissues grown from these cells will not be rejected by the body, say the scientists.
The concept of stem cell banking is gaining lots of awareness and more and more couples are opting for it.
There are several doctors and couples who do not advice stem cell banking. The point of argument for them is that the cost of storing the stem cells is too high and that it is still in its basic stages with no guarantee that there will be positive developments in the field.
Parents who opt for stem cell banking, though, argue that they will not take any 'risks' when it comes to ensuring their child's future!