The quest of Juan Ponce de Leon for the mythical Fountain of Youth in the 16th century is known as a myth and legend for everyone. Not knowing the healing fountain's exact location, others continued the search for the legendary Elixir of Life, a magical brew with a similar result-eternal youth and healing.
Today, people are still in search of a method to maintain a youthful appearance and a healthy body. They take refuge in cosmetic surgeries and costly pampering products and medicines. However, oblivious to most, the Elixir of Life exists within oneself, most especially after mothers gave birth. It is the stem cells in the baby's umbilical cord, which would be medically useful for the child and potential people in the future.
What is Cord Blood Banking?
An average of 250 babies are born every minute. Thus, numerous placenta and umbilical cord are thrown after the mother gives birth since they consider these as wastes. However, in recent years, frontrunners in medicine have found that the umbilical cord contains medically beneficial stem cells. Hence, keeping it well-preserved in a Cord blood banking institution is essential for future use.
Generally, cord blood banks are categorized into two: Public and Private institutions. These banks are responsible for keeping the baby's stem cells. Although these two institutions share a similar purpose, they still differ at some point.
A public cord blood bank is an institution that is run by the state. All the stored blood is donated and free of charge for people to use it for their treatment. Therefore, acquiring stem cells from public banks is encouraged. Moreover, to assist the person looking for the perfectly-matched stem cell for their treatment, they use human leukocyte antigen (HLA) for accurate and faster results.
Meanwhile, the private cord blood bank solely functions for profit. They are usually funded by private individuals and earn profits from the revenues. Since it is a sole private business that serves only private individuals, the harvested stem cells are not publicly accessible. However, banking in this institution is a little expensive, yet the physician recommends it to people who have congenital diseases.
The Cord Blood Banking Process
After giving birth, the umbilical cord of the baby is detached by cutting it. The cord is cleaned first by applying disinfectants on its outer part. Note that these disinfectants are not the regular ones that people use like ethyl alcohol because it's harmful. Further, the cord is hanged, enabling the gravity to help the blood flow directly from the punctured needle down to the collection bag tubing.
After the blood is extracted and collected in the bag, it is stored in an ice bag that keeps its temperature while traveling to a cord blood bank. When the bank receives the bag, they will run some tests to determine existing diseases in the blood, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which is harmful if transfused to those who haven't acquired it.
When tests are done and found no irregularity in the blood, the bag that contains the cord blood is frozen through cryogenic freezing (-196°C). This freezing process is the most successful of preserving biological specimens than in a higher storage temperature (-85°C). Lo! The cord blood is now ready to be preserved.
Stem Cells as the Elixir of Life
Indeed, the umbilical cord is a substantial source of stem cells, which is nowadays considered the elixir of life. Furthermore, these cells are scientifically proven to cure and aid numerous health and body issues and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and aging.
Globally, cancer is the second-leading cause of death. It is distinguished by developing abnormal cells that fastly scattered inside the body, targeting the healthy cells and tissues. On the positive side, cancer patients' survival rate increases due to scientific treatment innovations like stem cell therapy.
Stem cells do not directly counter cancer cells. Instead, they help your body recover and produce stem cells to help fight cancer cells after an intense dose of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Although diabetes has no cure yet, it is a disease that is manageable with proper care.
The scientists successfully transformed stem cells into beta cells-the insulin-producing cells. They had encountered some problems with the regulation of how much insulin the beta cells produce along their way. However, it didn't stop them until now. Their persistence in finding a cure for diabetes led to many developments for diabetes treatment.
Aging is innate to human development. As people progress through time, various physical changes happen, and people seemingly don't get along with these changes. Hence, they look for products and services that will keep their physical attributes intact.
The stem cell treatment has been popular with people who want to achieve younger-looking skin. The stem cells stand against the blemishing effects of aging and help the skin to rejuvenate dead skin cells into a new one for a lift and fresh outside-looking.
In a nutshell, people seem to have forgotten that the true Elixir of Life lies just within oneself. With the advanced innovations in science and medicine, one can now enjoy life's splendor without weary. Further, through cord blood banking, stem cells are preserved. Thus, a way to help yourself and others in the future.
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