Cord Blood Banking allows you to preserve your newborn baby’s cord blood and use the stem cells found in it in future if a need arises. These stem cells can be used in the treatment of more than 80 diseased conditions. More conditions continue to be researched due to ever increasing stem cell preservation benefits.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of blood cells, which involves multiplication of malignant White Blood Cells (WBCs). These abnormal cells do not function in the same way as normal WBCs, they continue to grow, divide and accumulate very quickly eventually crowding out the normal blood cells leading to difficulty in fighting infections, controlling bleeding, and transporting oxygen.
Tiredness, easy bruising, and susceptibility to infections are the major symptoms. Acute leukemia requires fast and aggressive treatment.
Prevalence of Leukemia in India
In low- and middle-income countries more than 250,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year have limited access to curative treatment, and only about 25% survive. An estimated 67,870 deaths have resulted from blood cancer in 2015. According to a report from National Cancer Registry Program (NCRP), in India cancer is the 9th common cause of death among children between 5 to 14 years of age.
Table 1: Childhood Cancer Incidence in India (AAR: Age-adjusted rates of incidence) (Data source: NCRP report)
Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant – Cure for Leukemia
Normal blood cells develop from stem cells that have the potential to regenerate and form many cell types. Cord blood for transplants is collected from the umbilical cord after a newborn baby is delivered. The stem cells from this cord blood are extracted in a Cell Processing Centre and preserved in -196ᵒ C liquid nitrogen tanks for future use.
Stem cell transplants which use the patient’s own stem cells are called “autologous transplants”. One can even use donor stem cells, they may come from either a related or unrelated matched donor, and this is called an “allogeneic transplant”. Most transplant physicians would not want to use a baby’s own cord blood to treat his or her leukemia. This is because donor stem cells might better fight the leukemia than the child’s own stem cells. Considering the high prevalence of leukemia, cord blood stem cell preservation benefits and curative uses of cord blood stem cells, it is evident that cord blood stem cell banking is important. Babycell understands that every family should stand a chance to treat their children, to help such patients Babycell has a Sibling Program. In case you have a child diagnosed with a
blood disorder your next baby’s cord blood stem cells can be used to cure your child under this Babycell collects, processes and stores your upcoming child’s cord blood stem cells free of cost for 5 years. Due to stem cell preservation benefits and development in technology it can definitely create a healthier, disease free society. Expecting parents must ensure that they opt for cord blood stem cell banking of their upcoming baby as this is one time opportunity. Babycell achieved its ISO certification in the first year itself; by the second year of operations they received GMP, GLP and GCP certifications. Babycell also provides value added services like new born screening (NBS), CFU assay- to test the ability of stem cells to differentiate, HLA testing, Father’s wellness program and more.
Fast facts about childhood cancer and stem cell transplantation
- Cancer is the 9th common cause of death among children between 5 to 14 years of age in India
- More than 250,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, Out of which there are 50,000 new childhood cancer cases in India Of these, 30-40% are leukemia and lymphomas, 20% are brain tumours and 1% retinoblastomas (eye cancer)
- Only about 25% survive as they have limited access to curative treatment
- An estimated 67,870 deaths have resulted from blood cancer in 2015
- Prevalence of childhood cancer has doubled in last one decade. In 2006 childhood cancers were 2.5% of the total number of cancer cases and today, they add up to 5.5%. Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai alone treats 2,000 new pediatric cancer cases annually.
Current Treatment for childhood cancer
- Current treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy. These are expensive and a temporary solution with a chance of disease relapse.
- Often a combination of Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplantation offers a 100% cure for childhood cancers.
Stem Cell Transplantation
- A stem cell transplant can take a few days or months to complete. The process begins with treatment of high doses of chemotherapy, this treatment goes on for a week or two. Once it is successfully done, patient is allowed to rest for a few days
- Patient then receives the stem cells through an IV catheter. This process is like receiving a blood transfusion. It takes 1 to 5 hours to receive all the stem cells.
- After receiving the stem cells, patient is set for a recovery phase. During this time the stem cells received to start making new blood cells.
Till date 1 million stem cell transplants are done worldwide, more than 50% have been performed in children