As the building blocks for all organs in the body, stem cells can be used in a growing number of medical treatments. Today, the list includes blood cancers, metabolic disorders, solid tumours, immune disorders and blood disorders.
Tomorrow, current research is suggesting, we will be able use stem cells to treat a much larger range of conditions including brain damage, cancer, spinal cord injury, heart damage, faulty blood-cell formation (haematopoiesis), baldness, wound healing and infertility.
About Haematopoietic and Mesenchymal stem cells
In fact, there are three main types of stem cells in cord blood and tissue:
- Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), from umbilical blood, which can produce red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets
- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), from umbilical tissue, which can produce connective tissue forming cells, fat forming cells, tendon/ligament forming cells, nerve forming cells, muscle forming cells, cartilage forming cells, and bone forming cells
- Very small embryonic like stem cells (VSELs), found in cord blood a more recently discovered form of stem cell, with exciting possibilities for regenerative therapy
All three may be used in stem cell treatments and so increase the number of therapies available to your child.