What are the false myths about umbilical cord storage

What are the false myths about umbilical cord storage?

Italian families expecting a child are often confused about whether or not to store umbilical cord stem cells. In order to make an informed choice, it is important to have the right information, so let us start by debunking some particularly common false myths.

False Myth 1

“Private biobanks offer autologous storage” – It is written everywhere, but it is not correct to use this term as one can confuse the type of storage (public or private) with the therapeutic use of stem cells (autologous or allogeneic). A privately stored cord blood sample can in fact be infused into the donor who generated them (autologous use) or it can be transplanted into one of his or her first-degree relatives (intra-family allogeneic transplantation) and that is what happens in most cases (Source EBMT) 1 .

False Myth 2

“Autologous stem cell transplantation is useless because the same diseased cells are injected”. This is an incorrect statement because it limits the use of stem cells to the hemato-oncological field, not taking into account that they can also be used in the immunological field and regenerative medicine 2 . The Ministry of Health provides dedicated storage for autologous use for those families at risk of having children with “genetically determined disorders. “3 .

False Myth 3

“Cord stem cells are only preserved for 10 to 15 years then lose viability.”. Once again this is an incorrect statement. It has been scientifically proven that cord blood stem cells after 24 years of cryopreservation are still viable and retain the ability to self-replicate and generate cells of different tissues 4,5 . There are some studies that have shown that 24 years after their extraction, properly stored umbilical cord stem cells are capable of replicating and differentiating into specialized cells with specific function.

Families must have correct and complete information available to them about the importance of umbilical cord stem cells, so as not to waste this valuable biological asset. Currently 95% of umbilical cords are thrown away as special waste. Doing so removes the possibility of preserving a powerful therapeutic tool that, as recognized by the Ministry of Health, can treat more than 80 diseases 3 .