Umbilical cord blood is a unique type of blood, only available for collection immediately after childbirth. Unlike mature blood, umbilical cord blood contains high numbers of stem cells that were used to create life. Known as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), these cells can be programmed by the body to become any type of blood component, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells can be collected immediately after childbirth and processed to isolate and cryogenically preserve the HSCs for potential future medical use. If needed, stored stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be thawed and transfused into the bloodstream to regenerate the immune system.
There is a lot more that science only now learning about HSC’s from umbilical cord blood. Research now shows that cord blood contains more than originally thought, making it potentially even more valuable. It turns out that umbilical cord blood also contains progenitor cells, including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and endothelial precursors. These stem cells have enormous potential in regenerative medicine for adults, as well as children. MSCs have the potential to become fat, bone, cartilage, and neural cells, while endothelial cells are an important part of blood vessels.