The umbilical cord is a very interesting part of human development that many people overlook. Nobody ever thinks about the umbilical cord as anything important, and rather something that is to be snipped off and forgotten about.
Everything you need to know about umbilical cords, and umbilical cord blood can be found either on this page or linked to from this page. Please take the time to browse the various pages filled with valuable information about the many uses for cord blood and the new technologies that emerge as our understanding of how embryonic stem cells behave.
Mammals have umbilical cords which is occasionally referred to as the birth cord or funiculus umbilicalis if you want to get technical. The umbilical cord is used to essentially supply the developing embryo or fetus with everything that is required for its ongoing development and constant growth.
Umbilical cords are basically made up of 2 arteries and a vein normally called an umbilical vein. The cord connects from where the baby’s bellybutton will be to the placenta while inside of the womb and this is how nutrients and oxygen are delivered to for fetus development.
Cord Blood Stem Cells
It wasn’t long ago that scientists discovered that blood from the umbilical cord, also known as cord blood, is a very potent source of undifferentiated stem cells which can be used for all sorts of things in the medical community including bone marrow transplants, doctors can treat leukemia with stem cells, and the practice is often very controversial.
Some people are of the belief that if you take cord blood at the time of birth and store it for this type of research and medical use, that the baby will suffer as it grows up and it will be genetically weaker because of the stem cells being removed from the cord blood when some of those cells may have otherwise gone to develop the newborn.
Cord Blood Banking
The general consensus among pediatricians is that cord blood banking should be encouraged but people should not be greedy and keep all of the cord blood for themselves, pediatrists believe that they should share the cord blood freely with others for medical and research purposes.
Cord Blood Research
The benefits of cord blood research are varied and of course they are all considered controversial by most, but the fact is that studying umbilical cord blood for research purposes has the potential to completely change the medical technologies of our time.
There are many ongoing studies being conducted by doctors and researchers about the overall effects of using umbilical cord blood stem cells for things other than blood problems and cancer. Research is being conducted on the potential for cord blood stem cells to be used in treating brain injuries as well as diabetes and strokes. There has even been research into using cord blood to help reverse hearing loss.
More information will be coming soon to this page, as more becomes available.