Stem Cells, which brings the umbilical cord is the tangible evidence of the union existing between the mother and the baby. The properties of stem cells are very important that we explain below.
Expert: Enrique Oyarzún, Ob / gyn Clinic University of the Andes
At the time of delivery, he proceeds to cut the union more visible existing between mother and baby: the umbilical cord, duct responsible for the exchange of nutrients and oxygen in the gestational period, the blood that is left within the lace has large properties, among these is the presence of stem cells.
The stem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms. You can divide (through mitosis) and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types. Among the properties of stem cells underscores the fact that they can renew themselves to produce more stem cells. In mammals, there are two major types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body replenishing adult tissues.
The importance of the blood of the umbilical cord is that it becomes a valuable source of stem cells, able to reconstruct the systems blood and immune, that is to say, cells of red blood cells (which carry oxygen to all the cells of the body), white blood cells attack infections) and platelets (help the blood to clot in case of injury).Read also: Baby surprise: 8 months pregnant and finds out in an emergency
“Stem cells are cells “totipotenciales”, that is to say, they belong to a state of embryonic development different from adult cells, therefore, have the potential capacity to transform into adult cells of different tissues or organs. “That potential is the that the becomes of fundamental importance in modern medicine to cure many diseases in the future,” says Dr. Enrique Oyarzún, Ob / gyn Clinic University of the Andes.
And despite the fact that the properties of the stem cells from the umbilical cord and its usefulness are a matter of recent, there are 20 years that have passed since that first discovered this technique. The first transplant of umbilical cord blood was performed in France in 1988, in a child with Fanconi anemia (type of anemia that presents with foci of hemorrhage and infection). And then in 1991 we performed a transplant in a child with leukemia mielogénica (your tumor cells are the precursors of red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cell other than lymphocytes). Both transplants were successful and gave way to the use of umbilical cord blood instead of bone marrow transplants, a method that is carried out before these two hits.
“It is now known that in the umbilical cord there are cells best and most useful, since they are in a state more close to the original, and there is some evidence that they work,” adds Dr. Oyarzún.
The use of umbilical cord blood, unlike the use of embryonic stem cells, does not cause controversy and is accepted by the Vatican, as it is a painless procedure for both the mother and the baby.Read also: First pregnancy of a patient with cancer without ovaries
Among the properties of stem cells can be say that they are an effective treatment against leukemia, osteopetrosis (bones are too dense), aplastic anemia, Fanconi anemia, melanoma, multiple (skin cancer), neuroblastoma (cancer of nerve cells), among others.
To use and take advantage of the properties of stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood, must be preserved in -196 ° C, thus ensuring its service life. And before any illness that requires them, they can be used both by the child, as well as their direct family members.
In Chile there are two banks of stem cells. “VidaCel” of a private nature, he came to the country in 2005 and “Bank of Life”, of a public nature, which started in August 2007 and developed by the Faculty of Medicine of the Catholic University and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Foundation Genómika.
The service offered by private banks is a contract that includes the extraction and collection of the cell, in addition to the storage and analysis process. The preservation of the umbilical cord blood is paid annually, and the costs, in VidaCel, the first year amounted to $812 thousand, and then $80 thousand per year.
A good option if you do not have the resources to save the cells of our children, is to go to the “Bank of Life”, which receives the donation and use of the cell, it will be for anyone who needs a transplant of stem cells from the umbilical cord. The difference is that this institution assumes the costs of collection, process, analysis, and preservation of the cells.
Dr. Enrique Oyarzún, was part of the project of the first public bank in Chile. “Normally, blood from the umbilical cord blood was removed, but now there are mothers that choose to donate this blood, the blood is drawn out and preserved, and will form part of the first public bank of cells from the umbilical cord in Chile.”Also read: work Stress leads to babies with low weight
On the properties of stem cells, the specialist added that “today we took a year collecting samples from patients whose deliveries take place in the Clinical Hospital of the Catholic University, and in the Clinic San Carlos de Apoquindo, with a view to that in two or three years we have sufficient samples, despite the fact that when you perform the first transplant with cells preserved, as will be justified all the work and the investment made”.
Thanks to the properties of stem cells can be used only in certain diseases, the majority related to the blood system and immune. But the private banks are betting that the cells conserved may be used, in future, in any type of tissue. The doctor Oyarzún agree that “today is fantasy,” think of that possibility. But yes bet that thanks to the public bank many more people have the possibility of access to the cure of diseases, replacing the technique of extracting bone marrow. So against these two possibilities, you have the final decision. The important thing is to think about the future of their children and family, ensuring their care and happiness.