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Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can make every type of cell in the blood – red cells, white cells and platelets. They are responsible for maintaining blood production throughout our lives. They have been used for many years in bone marrow transplants to treat blood diseases.
Umbilical cord blood is the blood left over in the placenta and in the umbilical cord after the birth of the baby. The cord blood is composed of all the elements found in whole blood. It contains red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets and is also rich in hematopoietic stem cells. There are several methods for collecting cord blood. The method most commonly used in clinical practice is the “closed technique”, which is similar to standard blood collection techniques. With this method, the technician cannulates the vein of the severed umbilical cord using a needle that is connected to a blood bag, and cord blood flows through the needle into the bag. On average, the closed technique enables collection of about 75 ml of cord blood.[3]
Finally, the healthy stem cells are placed into long-term cryogenic storage. Compared to other stem cell sources, cord blood units are available very quickly since a doctor can remove them from storage and send them to the transplant hospital within a few days.
Hematopoietic stem cells can be used to treat more than 70 types of diseases, including diseases of the immune system, genetic disorders, neurologic disorders, and some forms of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma. For some of these diseases, stem cells are the primary treatment. For others, treatment with stem cells may be used when other treatments have not worked or in experimental research programs.
Umbilical cord blood is being studied for potential use in a wide variety of life-threatening diseases because it is a rich source of blood stem cells. Transplantation of blood stem cells from umbilical cords has been used successfully to treat several pediatric blood diseases, including sickle cell anemia and cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. This procedure is still considered investigational. There is currently no solid evidence that umbilical cord blood stem cells have the ability to be transformed into other types of cells, such as replacement nerve tissue or myelin-making cells.
Stem cells are powerful, adaptable cells that can be used to promote healing and reverse damage. Stem cells are found in various places within the human body, but the purest stem cells are found in the umbilical cord.
FAQ172: Designed as an aid to patients, this document sets forth current information and opinions related to women’s health. The information does not dictate an exclusive course of treatment or procedure to be followed and should not be construed as excluding other acceptable methods of practice. Variations, taking into account the needs of the individual patient, resources, and limitations unique to the institution or type of practice, may be appropriate.
The second question concerns “storing” the newborn’s cord blood for the child’s future use or a family member’s future use. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement saying that, “Cord blood donation should be discouraged when cord blood stored in a bank is to be directed for later personal or family use.” They state: “No accurate estimates exist of the likelihood of children to need their own stored cord blood stem cells in the future. The range of available estimates is from 1 in 1000 to more than 1 in 200000.51 The potential for children needing their own cord blood stem cells for future autologous use is controversial presently.” Read the complete statement here.
If you want the blood stored, after the birth, the doctor clamps the umbilical cord in two places, about 10 inches apart, and cuts the cord, separating mother from baby. Then she inserts a needle and collects at least 40 milliliters of blood from the cord. The blood is sealed in a bag and sent to a lab or cord blood bank for testing and storage. The process only takes a few minutes and is painless for mother and baby.
MSCs are reported to have immune-suppressive effects. To comment human fetal and adult MSCs are not inherently immunostimulatory in vitro and fail to induce proliferation of allogeneic lymphocytes (37–39; for review, see ref. 40). In one human case, fully mismatched allogeneic fetal liver-derived MSCs were transplanted into an immunocompetent fetus with osteogenesis imperfecta in the third trimester of gestation (41). No immunoreactivity was observed when patient lymphocytes were re-exposed to the graft in vitro, indicating that MSCs can be tolerated when transplanted across MHC barriers in humans. Similarly, after intrauterine transplantation of human MSCs into sheep, the cells persisted long-term and differentiated along multiple mesenchymal lineages (42). Instead, the cells are immunosuppressive and reduce lymphocyte proliferation and the formation of cytotoxic T-cells and natural killer cells when present in mixed lymphocyte cultures. The mechanism whereby MSCs suppress lymphocyte proliferation is still largely unknown but appears to, at least in part, be mediated by a soluble factor. Several factors, including MSC-produced prostaglandin E2, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-mediated tryptophan depletion, transforming growth factor-β1, and hepatocyte growth factor have been proposed to mediate the suppression, but the data remain controversial.
^ Jump up to: a b Walther, Mary Margaret (2009). “Chapter 39. Cord Blood Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation”. In Appelbaum, Frederick R.; Forman, Stephen J.; Negrin, Robert S.; Blume, Karl G. Thomas’ hematopoietic cell transplantation stem cell transplantation (4th ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9781444303537.
Cord blood stem cells can be used in the treatment nearly 80 diseases today. Click on a category below to see specific diseases. Note: Banking cord blood does not guarantee that treatment will work and only a doctor can determine when it can be used.
Generalized stem cell lineage concept. The lineage is characterized by a self-maintaining “parent” true stem cell population that resides within a specialized niche microenvironment, which aids the regulation of stem cell division or quiescence (nondividing). Derivative cells (called progeny or daughter cells) are of two types: symmetric division produces two identical daughter cells to expand or maintain the stem cell population; asymmetric division produces an identical daughter and a specialized cell (a differentiated cell). The differentiated cell is an intermediate type of precursor cell, termed the transient dividing population. The number of divisions of the intermediate precursor is fairly tightly regulated by microenvironment and inborn regulation factors. The intermediate precursors are thought to have a limited proliferative capacity. Further tissue-specific specialization continues form the intermediate precursors, producing specialized populations with a commitment to a progressively more specialized (differentiated) fate. The end points are fully differentiated cells that are nondividing and that live for various, tissue-specific periods prior to senescence or damage that leads to cell death. In some tissues, the naturally occurring cell loss produces various feedback signals that trigger normal cell replacement via amplification/differentiation of either stem cells or the intermediate precursors.
If you’re reading this, you may likely also agree that the cord blood should be saved, leaving only a decision whether to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public bank or to preserve it for your baby’s and other family members’ potential future use. Parents should be fully informed of how each options compares prior to making a final decision.
* Disclaimer: Banking cord blood does not guarantee that treatment will work and only a doctor can determine when it can be used. Cord tissue stem cells are not approved for use in treatment, but research is ongoing. 
If someone doesn’t have cord blood stored, they will have to rely on stem cells from another source. For that, we can go back to the history of cord blood, which really begins with bone marrow. Bone marrow contains similar although less effective and possibly tainted versions of the same stem cells abundant in cord blood. Scientists performed the first bone marrow stem cell transplant in 1956 between identical twins. It resulted in the complete remission of the one twin’s leukemia.
STEM CELLS are found in cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue. These cells are highly valuable to your baby, the mother, and possibly other family members. When you save these stem cells with Americord®, you ensure that they are securely stored for you and your family’s future needs. Learn more >

The baby’s cord blood will be processed and stored in a laboratory facility, often referred to as a blood bank. The cord blood should be processed and stored in a facility that is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for the purpose of handling stem cells.
The blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after birth is called “cord blood”. Umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord tissue, and the placenta are all very rich sources of newborn stem cells. The stem cells in the after birth are not embryonic. Most of the stem cells in cord blood are blood-forming or hematopoietic stem cells. Most of the stem cells in cord tissue and the placenta are mesenchymal stem cells.
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“One of the wonderful things about cord blood is that unlike bone marrow, you don’t always need a perfect match in order for it to work,” says Dr. Kurtzberg, who performed the first unrelated cord-blood transplant in the U.S. And it was a public donation that ultimately saved Anthony Dones. Within a week of starting a search, the National Cord Blood Program, a public bank operated by the New York Blood Center, found a “close enough” match. Had the now-3-year-old been forced to rely on a bone-marrow match, he might still be waiting.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. This blood is usually discarded. However, cord blood banking utilizes facilities to store and preserve a baby’s cord blood. If you are considering storing your baby’s cord blood, make sure to use a cord blood bank accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), like Viacord.
Along with cord blood, Wharton’s jelly and the cord lining have been explored as sources for mesenchymal stem cells (MSC),[19] and as of 2015 had been studied in vitro, in animal models, and in early stage clinical trials for cardiovascular diseases,[20] as well as neurological deficits, liver diseases, immune system diseases, diabetes, lung injury, kidney injury, and leukemia.[21]
The cord blood of your baby is an abundant source of stem cells that are genetically related to your baby and your family. Stem cells are dominant cells in the way they contribute to the development of all tissues, organs, and systems in the body.
In addition to the benefits related to transplanting HSCs derived from cord blood, HSCs are relatively easy to isolate, giving them an advantage over other adult stem cell types.  Cord blood HSCs are also believed to have greater plasticity than HSCs found in bone marrow or the blood stream.  The limits and possibilities of using HSCs to repair tissues and treat non-blood related disorders are currently being studied.
Research is being conducted using cord blood cells to analyze immune response and other factors that may eventually shed light on causes and treatment of MS. However, at present there is no treatment available involving cord blood cells. Nor do we know of any sites that are looking for cord blood specifically for MS research.
The process used to collect cord blood is simple and painless. After the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped. Blood is drawn from the cord with a needle that has a bag attached. The process takes about 10 minutes.
What is cord blood and why should we care? Cord blood contains stem cells that have huge potential to help your family. It can only be collected from a newborn’s umbilical cord immediately after birth. They’re unique and can be used to treat life threatening diseases such as anemia and leukemia. We’re just beginning to tap into its potential.
CBR Cord Blood Education Specialists are available 7 days a week (Monday – Friday 6 AM – 9 PM PST and Saturday – Sunday 6 AM – 4 PM PST) to respond to consumer inquiries. In addition, consumers may request to schedule a call with a CBR Cord Blood Education Specialist at a specific date and time.
The work from Dr. Verfaillie’s lab on the multipotent adult progenitor cell (MAPC) has received much attention (15,16,18–22). Their findings indicate that the MAPC is pluripotential and slightly enigmatic, as it appears after extensive passage in cell culture. Similarly, in umbilical cord blood, Kogler et al. (17,23) identified a cell that they call the universal somatic stem cell (USSC). The USSC is another rare cell (average of 16 cells in initial isolate; able to isolate USSC in 50% of the cords attempted). The USSC, like the MAPC, offers much promise as an embryo-safe pluripotent cell. Widespread acceptance of these two cells will come when the methods for their isolation become robust such that any laboratory can isolate them and contribute to the field.
In addition to the use of cord blood stem cells for transplantation, cord blood stem cells are currently being investigated for use in stem cell therapy.  Cord blood stem cells are multipotent and are believed to have greater plasticity (the ability to form into different stem cell types) than adult hematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow.  HSCs are being investigated for use in autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythermatosis (SLE) in order to reprogram or reconstitute the immune system.  Additionally, research is being conducted on differentiating HSCs into other tissue types such as skeletal and cardiac muscle, liver cells (hepatocytes), and neurons.   HSCs are currently being used in gene therapy, due to their self-renewing properties, as a means of delivering genes to repair damaged cells.  HSCs are the only cells currently being used in this manner in clinical gene therapy trials.
When a donor signs up with a public bank, the mother must pass a health screening and sign a consent form. After that, the bank processes the application, which makes last-minute donations impossible. However, there are a small number of banks that accept late donor requests.
Private (commercial) cord banks will store the donated blood for use by the donor and family members only. They can be expensive. These banks charge a fee for processing and an annual fee for storage.
Donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank is always free. The limitations of the public banking network in the United States are: they only collect donations at large birthing hospitals in ethnically diverse communities, the mother must pass a health screening, they prefer registration by 34 weeks of pregnancy, and they only save the largest cord blood collections. The potential reward of public donation is that your baby could Be The Match to save a life!
If you go to the hospital to deliver your baby before you are able to complete the form, inform the hospital staff that you would like to donate your baby’s cord blood and they will provide a form to be completed at that time.
With the consent of the parents, blood can be collected from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby shortly after birth. This does not hurt the baby or the mother in any way, and it is blood that would otherwise be discarded as biological waste along with the placenta (another rich source of stem cells) after the birth.
Because of the invasive procedure required to obtain the bone marrow, scientist continued to look for a better source, which eventually lead to the discovery of similar stem cells in cord blood in 1978. Cord blood was used in its first transplant in 1988, and cord blood has since been shown to be more advantageous than other means of acquiring similar stem cells and immune system cells. This is because umbilical cord blood can be considered naïve and immature compared to other sources. Cord blood has not been exposed to disease or environmental pollutants, and it is more accepting of foreign cells. In this case, inexperience makes it stronger.
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Clinical Trials More likely to be used in clinical trials to potentially treat strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, cerebral palsy, autism and a range of other serious medical conditions Less likely to be available to the donor or family members for use in clinical trials More likely to be used in clinical trials for range of other serious medical conditions Less likely to be available for use in clinical trials  
When Tracey and Victor Dones’s 4-month-old son was diagnosed with osteopetrosis, a potentially fatal disorder that affects bone formation, the panic-stricken couple was relieved to hear that a stem-cell transplant could save his life. “We’d paid to store Anthony’s umbilical-cord blood in a private bank in case he ever needed it — and I thought we were so smart for having had the foresight to do that,” says Tracey.
As most parents would like to bank their babies’ cord blood to help safeguard their families, it is often the cost of cord blood banking that is the one reason why they do not. Most cord blood banks have an upfront fee for collecting, processing and cryo-preserving the cord blood that runs between $1,000 and $2,000. This upfront fee often also includes the price of the kit provided to collect and safely transport the cord blood, the medical courier service used to expedite the kit’s safe shipment, the testing of the mother’s blood for any infectious diseases, the testing of the baby’s blood for any contamination, and the cost of the first full year of storage. There is then often a yearly fee on the baby’s birthday for continued storage that runs around $100 to $200 a year.
CORD:USE is directed by leading doctors in cord blood transplantation.  Public donations collected by CORD:USE are sent to the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, a FACT-accredited laboratory under the direction of Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg.
Stem cells can be used in treatments for many different types of diseases. One of the main places young stem cells are found is in cord blood, which can be stored at birth and saved for future use if needed. Stem cells are also found in other places in the human body, including blood and bone marrow.
Banking your child’s cord blood really comes down your personal choice.  Some people may seem the potential benefits, while others can’t justify the costs.  No one debates cord blood cells being a lifesaver, and in recent years, more than 20,000 lives have been saved because of it; however, experts, such as The American Academy of Pediatrics, note that your odds of using this blood is about one in 200,000.  Instead of buying into a company’s advertising scheme, be sure to do your own research and deem what’s best for your child’s future.