Cord blood & cord tissue
A guide to Acute leukaemia and stem cells
Acute leukaemia is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, which affects thousands of people every year in the UK. Stem cell therapy is a vital part of treating leukaemia and storing these incredible cells from your baby’s umbilical cord can really be life-saving. Healthy bone marrow and blood cells are essential, and a cord blood transplant can be one of the best ways to treat conditions that affect these, like acute leukaemia.
Can acute leukaemia be cured?
Thankfully, acute leukaemia can be cured, with effective treatment including high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell therapy; radiotherapy is also used in some cases. Chemotherapy is the most effective way we currently have of treating acute leukaemia, and high-dose chemotherapy is used to kill the cancer cells in the blood. However, the use of chemotherapy is limited because of the damage it does to normal blood and bone marrow cells as well as cancerous ones. After receiving chemotherapy, the patient’s blood and immune system are severely damaged, making the patient extremely vulnerable.
Why are stem cells needed?
The damage caused by chemotherapy is the reason why stem cells are so important in the treatment of leukaemia. These special cells, which are produced by bone marrow, can become different cells that the body needs, and replace the damaged cells after chemotherapy. Stem cells are needed in the treatment of leukaemia as they allow the patient to receive far higher doses of chemotherapy as the damaged blood cells will be replaced with new stored stem cells that can transform into the necessary blood cells for recovery. During a cord blood transplant, the stored stem cells enter the patient’s blood, move to the bone marrow and start producing the new blood cells that the body needs. These cells help the body develop a new immune system, which should recognise and destroy any further cancerous cells.
What types of leukaemia can stem cell therapy help?
Stem cell therapy can help with a number of forms of cancer, including Acute Leukaemia (ALL), Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia (AML), Acute Biphenotypic Leukaemia and Acute Undifferentiated Leukemia. Acute leukaemia is a type of blood cancer where the cancer cells are multiplying rapidly, and urgent treatment is needed. Stem cells are vital in helping the body replace the destroyed and damaged blood cells and rebuild the immune system after chemotherapy treatment.
How do stored stem cells help?
One of the most challenging parts of treating leukaemia is finding the correct type of cells to transplant. Stem cells are rare, and a baby’s umbilical cord is one of the best sources of stem cells there is. Stem cells can be used to treat the child if the unthinkable happens, and these stem cells could also be used to help other family members if they are diagnosed with acute leukaemia and need a stem cell transplant. Another important consideration is that if your child has had their stem cells stored in a stem cell bank, they can be treated with their own stem cells, meaning they shouldn’t develop Graft vs Host Disease. Blood from the umbilical cord contains high quantities of stem cells, and this priceless resource can be stored safely in a simple process.
How do I store stem cells?
Because of the incredible life-saving potential of stem cells, more and more people are choosing to protect their child’s future and store their stem cells in a dedicated stem cell storage bank. At Stem Protect, we do not offer stem cell therapy, but we do provide everything you need to take and store stem cells for future use. This simple and painless procedure could save your child’s life, so get in touch today to find out more about our expert stem cell banking services or fill out the form below for a free consultation.
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