Four Vital Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing Stem Cells Banks

According to Dr Dharama Choudhary, a bone marrow transplant specialist: “Globally, around 50,000 cases of cancer have been treated with stem cells from cord blood, but banking is not a feasible solution because the amount preserved is not enough for bone marrow transplants in adults,”.

“Even if you have enough, using cord blood cells is more costly and the recovery period is longer,” she adds.

This means it is absolutely necessary to choose a good and efficient stem cell bank.

Stem cells are currently being used to treat: Leukemia; Thalassemia; Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; Hodgkin’s disease; Hunter’s syndrome; Neuroblastoma; Sickle cell disease; and a range of cancers. In the future, stem cells are expected to treat: Heart disease; Alzheimer’s; Multiple sclerosis; Muscular dystrophy; Parkinson’s disease; Diabetes

Stem cell banking is the process of collecting, storing and using potentially life-saving stem cells in regenerative medicine and therapeutic purposes. Stem cells can give rise to many cells in the body i.e. they act as precursors to body cells which eventually give rise to specific organs in the body.

Therefore, through the use of stem cell, a lost or damaged body organ or several body cells can be revived. For this purposes, several centres called stem cell banks, save and store stem cells for future use.

How are stem cells collected in stem cell banks?

The main type of stem cells that are collected for regenerative purposes and therapeutic purposes are umbilical cord stem cells or simply cord cells. Basically, cord cells are cells that can act as precursors to the baby’s cells and organs. They can be later used to treat several diseases which are caused by the dysfunction of organs and cells. These cord cells will help in the revival of cells and organs.

If you’re pregnant and considering saving cord blood cells in a stem cell bank. First, check with your doctor about the consequences. If the doctor agrees, you can register with the bank a month before delivery.

At the time of delivery, when the umbilical cord is cut, blood oozes out of it. This blood is to be saved. The bank will send a sterilized kit to collect this blood. It is a simple procedure and requires 10 minutes or so.

Four Vital Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing Stem Cells Banks:

Q1) Is the lab valid and does the banks have valid certification?

This is the first question you should ask before choosing a stem cell bank. See if they have valid lab certifications and the procedures they use comply with the FDA (or whichever authority operates in your country). Stem cells can be used to save lives and you don’t want to store them in a place that might close for fraud certifications.

Q2) What is the quality of your service and what are the success rates?

It is important to know everything about a stem cell bank before investing money in it. As this is a medical and research-oriented field, there can never be 100 per cent success rates, but you can surely ask the service provider about how many stem cells are stored in the bank every month, the processing success rate of stem cells, the test-for-viability of the stem cells before storing and so on.

Q3) What is the total cost and are there any ‘hidden fees’ involved?

You should always ensure whether or not you can afford a stem cell bank before filling out the form for cord blood storage. After getting to know the storage fee, you must ask other stem cell banks for their charges. Compare and choose what’s best for you. You must also ask whether there are any non-refundable costs involved, the cost for 20 years of storage, the annual storage fee might increase or not? if yes, by how much? And so on.

Q4) Is the product safe?

Check for the sterility of the kit they provide you. Ask about the anti-coagulants they use to prevent the blood from coagulating. Are the kits and the anticoagulants approved by the FDA?

To conclude, giving life to someone is a beautiful gift that medical research has bestowed upon us, using this correctly and safely is in our hands.

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