Stem Cell Bank – the Clear Choice of Awareness of the Repository

by B.H.S.Thimmappa

Stem Cell Preservation

 Stem cells are essentially the building blocks of the blood and immune system and they can develop into other types of cells. Therefore, they can help repair tissues, organs, and blood vessels in the human body. They can be used in the treatment of different medical conditions via stem cell therapy, including some cancers, blood disorders, and immune deficiencies. Self-renewal and potency are the two important characteristics of stem cells that promote the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional, or injured tissue. The process of procuring, processing, and storing stem cells from the human body at low temperatures for potential future use in treatments through stem cell banks provides several societal health benefits. It is essential to preserve the biological properties of cells of a specific genome and protect them from possible contamination and degeneration for different purposes using the traditional method of freezing and cryopreservation to keep cellular material intact.

 Umbilical cord blood stem cells having high regenerative properties can assume the identity of other specialized cells such as nerve cells through the multilineage differentiation process. They can travel to the site of tissue damage and can unite with other tissues. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells and is collected right after birth. The collection process is safe and painless for both mother and baby. Further, these cells are not exposed to toxins and radiation. After the birth of the baby, blood is collected into a special blood bag by gravity, eligible stem cells are transferred to a new bag, the cryoprotectant is added to minimize damage during freezing, and finally stored in liquid nitrogen at -190 oC for future transplant. Stem cell banking involves consent, testing of maternal donors, collection, adding anticoagulants, processing, cryopreservation, testing the quality of stored stem cells, and releasing blood units to the transplant center. Stem cell verification and viability testing, blood typing, counting of blood cells, HIV test, and check for infections or other genetic disorders are also required to be carried out to help the health care provider to go ahead with the treatment process.

Safety Net for Family

 Neuronal stem cells are being used in the treatment of neurovegetative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease through neuron replacement. Peripheral blood stem cells are used in bone marrow transplantation. Stem cell and tissue engineering in disease treatment is a rapidly developing field that offers hope for the effective treatment of different malignant and non-malignant diseases. In vitro manipulation of hematopoietic stem cells and gene transfer may allow genetic or acquired disease treatment. Embryonic stem cells may eventually be grown in vitro under a controlled microenvironment to produce solid organs. It is a new chapter in organ transplantation using cells instead of donor organs which are limited in supply. These tiny cells can save lives by transforming into specialized cells like brain cells, muscle cells, and bone cells. They can repair or replace the affected parts of the human body due to aging, illness, or injury. Cord banking has become popular in recent years due to the ability of stem cells to treat cancers like leukemia, lymphomas, neuroblastoma, genetic disorders, and immune disorders. Currently, more than 50,000 transplants per year have been carried out using stem cells across the globe. They are useful in tissue regeneration, cardiovascular tissue repair, blood disease treatment, and nerve cell replacement/repair. LifeCell is India’s first and largest stem cell bank. Now there are more than 16 privately held, government-owned (public), and community stem cell banks in India, providing various stem cell-related services. Public banks use donated samples for stem cell research also. Stem cell research has the potential to find cures and treatments for a wide range of diseases. It will prolong life, improve quality of life and provide hope for life to millions of people across the world. Therefore, stem cell banking and transplantation play a pivotal role in the regenerative medicine revolution. It would have far-reaching implications on societal health and foster a new direction in disease treatment for the betterment of society. The core purpose of this article is to inspire people to take the untrodden trajectory and leave the message that such a positive path makes all the difference. All that matters is the clear choice of awareness of the repository of stem cell banks makes us understand ‘cute cells today and healthy body tomorrow’ for the advancement of society!

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About the Author:

B.H.S. Thimmappa is a writer from Udupi, India

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