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What is Stem Cell therapy?

Stem Cell therapy offers the chance of treatment from illnesses and conditions which have been previously denied to patients. But new advances mean that conditions which were otherwise thought ‘incurable’ may one day disappear.

That’s why harvesting stem cells could be vital for your child.

The uses of stem cells are already rather varied, with new applications being discovered or perfected all the time.

At the moment, the most widely practiced form of stem cell therapy is the bone marrow transplant.

In this case, the patient (often a leukaemia sufferer, but other cancers are treatable with bone marrow transplant), receives a transplant of bone marrow that matches their own. In the most basic of terms, the patient receives chemotherapy which removes their existing bone marrow. They are injected with the clean, replacement stem cells, which then set to work creating new blood cells, and hopefully ridding the patient of the cancer.

Bone marrow transplants are not the only therapies that can be carried out with stem cells.

As time progresses, we are discovering more and more uses for stem cells, and given that your child is likely to reach a far more grand age than his ancestors, many of these therapies and treatments may well be vital in later life.

When receiving the stem cells from another donor, we call this procedure an ‘allogenic transplant’, but in the case of the service we provide, it would be known as ‘autologuous’, as the patient would be receiving their own donor stem cells.

Autologuous cell transplants are far more effective as they are unlikely to be rejected by the patient’s immune system.

We are able to do this because you opted to provide a small sample of blood from your baby’s umbilical cord and placenta shortly after the moment of their birth.

By taking the sample within minutes of their arrival, we can maximise the chance of storing as many healthy stem cells as possible. The cells are sent to our facility, where they are screened for a number of viruses, before being added to a cryo-preservant that will ensure that the cells remain viable when they are frozen.

First, they are cooled to -90ºC, at which point they are placed in a container of liquid nitrogen, which freezes them to -196ºC. To put that into perspective, your freezer at home will reach around -20ºC at most. The temperatures we use are approaching “absolute zero”, the coldest temperatures achievable.

That means cells can be revived in the future with very little (or zero) loss of viability, meaning that their potential for use in stem cell therapies will be as effective as the day they were first stored.

Stem cell storage for future therapies, then, is an investment in a world of risk which gives your child the hope of a longer, healthier life.

If you have any questions about what we can offer, please do not hesitate to call our friendly, professional team