August 8, 2020

Umbilical cord contains life-saving stem cells for 85 diseases — Expert

Umbilical cord contains life-saving stem cells for 85 diseases — Expert

Ogunleye Toluwalope(left) and a colleague.

Ogunleye Toluwalope(left) and a colleague.

The medical representative and Director, Bentoluene International Health Concept, Ogunleye Toluwalope, has advised pregnant mothers to save their little one’s umbilical cord to a blood bank and potentially save a life.

Toluwalope said this at the Cord Blood Awareness Campaign Webinar organised by Bentoluene International Health Concept in Lagos.

He said the umbilical cord has been found to be the richest sites for stem cells, which are highly instrumental in the treatment of over 85 known disease, including autism, brain injury, cerebral palsy and hearing loss.

He noted that for years, it has been used to cure sickle cells as it is effective for genotype transplants.

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Toluwalope opined that storing your baby’s stem cells at the time of birth is a once in a lifetime opportunity to capture a valuable resource that could be used in the treatment of serious illness or disease, adding that in the past the main source of stem cells came from bone marrow.

He explained that the first successful stem cell transplant using stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood was in 1988.

The patient was a little boy suffering from a serious blood disorder called Fanconi’s Anaemia, and the cord blood was obtained from his newborn sister.

This was the start of stem cell transplantation using umbilical cord blood.

According to Toluwalope, “a cord blood stem cell transplant can be used to replace diseased cells with healthy new cells, and rebuild an individual’s blood and immune system.

“More recently, cord blood stem cells have been shown to be able to form other tissues in the body.”

He further said that there has been considerable scientific and clinical interest in the potential of cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine.

In laboratory work, cord blood cells have been shown to be capable of developing into a range of cell types such as nerve, bone, skin, heart and liver cells to name a few.

He added: “These exciting developments have already translated into early clinical treatment of ischaemic heart disease and some neurological conditions.

“The future of regenerative medicine holds much promise and cord blood is likely to play a major part in this advancement in our ability to treat human disease.”

He stressed that storing umbilical cord tissue as well as the cord blood is the most efficient way to store your child’s stem cells.

He added that cord tissue stem cells can be very easily and successfully isolated from a section of the umbilical cord that is collected at birth.

Once collected, the cord is safely and efficiently transported in a special solution designed to preserve the stem cells during the transportation process.

“Once it arrives at the laboratory the cord is processed immediately. It’s then placed in storage where it will remain for use in the future should it be needed,” he said.