The Life Saving Power Of A Newborn’s Umbilical Cord

Did you know that the umbilical cord transplant scene is growing fast? Studies have shown that the umbilical cord is powerful against 70 over diseases including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Research has been ongoing and there is hope that one day, it may also be used to treat Parkinson’s, diabetes and heart diseases.

One fine case is 6 years old Hayden Zavareei who had little chance of surviving leukemia. No one in the world could match her. Her father, Mr Hassan, had no choice but turn to the donated umbilical cord in a vial at a public blood bank in Duke University Medical Center. More than 2 years later, it was a fact. Hayden is a happy cancer-free 3rd grader who live was saved by a baby.

2 bone marrows will need to have at least 87.5% of similarity before it is considered to be a match. One the other hand, for a cord transplant to happen, a 66.7% similarity is enough. The reason behind the lower similarity requirement is due to the fewer and weaker immune cells contained in cord blood that may threaten the life of the patient where the transplanted cells attack the patient’s healthy tissue.

An increasing number of parents have opt to keep their newborn’s umbilical cord in case the child might someday need it. The cord blood cells also have the potential to one day repair unusable tissues in the heart and brain. However, the umbilical cord cannot be reused if the child grows up needing a transplant as the umbilical cord contains the same genetics that has caused the disease. The real potential in keeping a newborn’s umbilical cord is in saving other people’s lives.

Note that many people die waiting for marrow transplants each year. A huge number of Americans that will benefit from a national cord blood supply are African Americans and Asians. This is due to the under-representation in the bone marrow donor registries. 7 out of 10 White Americans find a bone marrow match every year while the chances for Asians and African Americans are 2 out of 10 and 1 out of 10 respectively.

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