As a mother of a child with complex health issues I would have liked to have known about the option of storing my son’s umbilical cord blood and tissue prior to his birth.
Like many mums-to-be, I didn’t know that the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby has been born contains powerful stem cells. These stem cells can be quickly and painlessly collected and then stored for potential future use to help treat diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
As reported in The Advertiser earlier this year, 12-year-old South Australian, Rose Boon, has received her own umbilical cord blood as a treatment for type 1 diabetes in a world-first Australian study. The study is investigating the potential to prevent or delay the onset of type 1 diabetes in high risk children using a child’s own cord blood.
Type 1 diabetes is a complex, lifelong auto-immune condition that affects more than 120,000 people in Australia alone. Rose’s cord blood was stored at birth with Cell Care, with a view to assisting her older brother, Sam, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was three.
Cell Care is the only Australian cord blood bank actively supporting cell therapy clinical trials in areas such as type 1 diabetes and cerebral palsy.
There is only one opportunity to collect and store your baby’s cord blood and tissue stem cells and that is at their birth, which is why I want to help raise awareness for other parents-to-be.
Storing umbilical cord blood is an investment in a child’s future that could potentially save their life. Storing cord blood at birth seems like the kind of insurance I wish I had of taken out for my family.
Today, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat over 80 life-threatening diseases and scientific research is evaluating how cord blood stem cells may provide new therapies for a wide range of diseases which currently have no effective treatment.
1 Walsh, L. (2017, April 8). Rose’s rush of blood an infusion of hope for diabetes cure. The Advertiser, p. 23.