Why conserve cord stem cells

Why conserve cord stem cells?

A topic concerning pregnancy and medicine in general, whose popularity has been growing abruptly in recent years, is that of umbilical cord preservation and donation. Despite the importance of this topic, it can be difficult to find accurate, clear and complete information.

Let's get some clarity. At the time of delivery, it is possible to collect stem cells contained in the blood present inside the umbilical cord. Currently, in Italy, the family can choose to privately store the blood sample or proceed with cord donation to public banks.

Italy is home to 19 public cord blood preservation banks – representing 10 percent of the world's banks. This has significant costs, and the system of collecting samples for storage in public banks has some limitations. In fact, only 8 public banks in one year have collected more than 1.200 samples.

Biobanks for the storage of umbilical cord stem cells must meet quality standards attested by international certifications. Many public banks in Italy are not GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified, which is the certificate that guarantees the highest quality for products intended for cell therapies. In addition, samples are only collected on specific days and times, making cord blood collection difficult in some situations.

Currently, the biggest problem regarding cord stem cell collection, however, concerns waste: unfortunately, in Italy, about 95% of cord blood samples are not collected and stored but thrown away as waste, thus generating a great waste of potentially therapeutic resources.

The great potential of stem cells in the treatment of numerous diseases is recognized by the Ministry of Health, which through the legislative decree of November 18, 2009, listed more than eighty diseases treatable by stem cell transplantation.

Providing comprehensive information about the potential of stem cells and the possibility of securing this valuable biological asset either through private storage or donation is therefore important to enable families to make an informed choice.

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– Broxmeyer HE: Cord blood hematopoietic stem cell transplantation In StemBook Community TSCR, ed., May 26, 2010

– Broxmeyer, H. E., M. R. Lee, et al. “Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, and isolation of endothelial progenitors from 21- to 23-.5-year cryopreserved cord blood.” Blood