Bhubaneswar: The banking of stem cells from the umbilical cord of the newborns has seen a spurt in the state capital with rise in the awareness levels of the urban expectant mothers.
Gynaecologists and obstetricians from the city who undertake institutional deliveries believe that the practice of opting for banking of the cord blood stem cells has been on the rise. The umbilical cord of the newborn, instead of being disposed off, is stored in stem cell banks to derive the stem cells when required.
Admitting the rise in numbers of parents going for stem cell banking, city-based gynaecologist Dr Alakta Das told Orissa POST, “Keeping in view the rising trends of degenerative and immunological diseases and various blood related disorders, expectant mothers should go for private/ public stem cell banking so that the benefit can be extended to the sibling or a family adult too.”
The doctor also said that the cost has also come down over the years for the cord blood banking. According to doctors, the cost comes close to Rs 55,000. Dr Veena Panda, another gynaecologist from the city said, “Stem cells are master/mother of all cells entrusted with sub serving some specialized functions. The processing and preservation cost of both cord blood and cord tissue stem cells along with services is around `55,000. We are now encouraging the patients to go for stem cell preservation.”
Many such private banks also offer EMI options for easy payments. Experts claim that after 18 years the bone marrow in adults produces ample stem cells which could be derived and used for treatments.
Doctors said that cord blood is a rich source of stem cells which are unspecialised cells that are the basis of all tissue and organs of the body. It can be used for various diseases affecting the paediatric as well as adult population.
These can be used as alternative source of bone marrow during transplantation. It can also be used in different blood related cancers, sickle cell anaemia, Thalassemia, inherited metabolic disorders, immunological defects. Research has extended its benefits in curing diabetes, heart diseases, strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries and even liver injury.
Dr Nandini Gokulchandran, a stem cell therapist said, “Opting to store cord blood cells is like buying a life insurance policy. It could be stored and used when needed. Its benefit is that it has higher acceptability rates compared to unmatched donors. However this has restricted usage as of now.”
However a section of doctors do not recommend it openly citing lack of substantiated research on usage of cord blood cells, lack of stringent government policies for the same and also its limited utility compared to adult blood stem cells.