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What are Stem Cells?

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What Are StemcellsStem cells are the body’s master cells and have the ability to replicate to form different cells in the body. They are unspecialized cells that replicate and form into specialized cells. Stem cells are found in the bone marrow, cord blood and also in the blood stream. They can repair, replace, or renew damaged cells.

There are 2 types of stem cells:
  • Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos which are fertilized through in-vitro fertilization. Embryonic cells have the ability to become any cell. The use of embryonic stem cells is a controversial topic.
  • Adult stem cells are found in adult tissue. These are the type of stem cells used to treat diseases. Cord blood stem cells are adult stem cells.

The diseases that can be treated with stem cells from cord blood include the following:
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Leukemia (multiple types)
  • Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Myelodysplasia
  • Sickle-cell disease
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Other inherited metabolic, immunological, and hemolytic disorders

Stem cells are continually be studied and researched. The future of stem cell therapy could be used to treat the following diseases: 
  • Diabetes Type I
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Burns
  • Lupus
 
What is Cord Blood Banking? Read More...
 

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Sources:
American Academy of Pediatrics- Section on Hematology/Oncology and Section on Allergy/Immunology. Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation. PEDIATRICS Vol. 119 No. 1 January 2007, pp. 165-170.
American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) COMMITTEE REPORT: Collection and Preservation of Cord Blood for Personal Use
Hematopoietic Stem Cells . In Stem Cell Information [World Wide Web site]. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011 [cited Monday, December 26, 2011] Available at <http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/scireport/chapter5>
 Stem Cell Basics: Introduction . In Stem Cell Information [World Wide Web site]. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009 [cited Tuesday, December 27, 2011] Available at <http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics1>
Kurtzberg, J. et al. Untying the Gordian knot: policies, practices, and ethical issues related to banking of umbilical cord blood. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2005 October 1; 115(10): 2592–2597.
Powell, J. et al. Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Indications for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
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