What is Placenta Tissue Banking?
The placenta is a rich source of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). In particular, the MSCs in the placenta that we harvest using our proprietary technique are a genetic match to the mother. By storing placenta tissue in addition to cord blood and cord tissue, you’ll be saving stem cells that hold the potential to be beneficial to your child, and separate MSCs could be beneficial to the mother as well.
When you bank placenta tissue, you preserve the MSCs it contains, keeping them available for potential future medical use. Although MSCs are not yet being used in medical therapies, they are currently the subject of almost 50 clinical trials worldwide. The reason so many studies are being done on MSCs is because scientists believe MSCs have the potential to treat or cure a great number of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, type 1 diabetes, lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Scientists also think MSCs could one day be used in numerous regenerative therapies that may have lifesaving consequences.
MSCs are different from hematopoietic stem cells (the stem cells found in cord blood). Unlike hematopoietic stem cells, MSCs can differentiate into cartilage cells (chondrocytes), bone cells (osteoblasts), fat cells (adipocytes), and other forms of connective tissue. This unique ability to differentiate is what makes scientists believe that there could be so many potential uses for them.
Currently, research is being conducted into using mesenchymal stem cells for the following uses:
- Cartilage repair
- Heart disease
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Liver disease
- Serious Wounds
- Spinal Cord Injury
How Placenta Tissue is Processed
Once your placenta is received at Americord’s laboratory, it is prepared for storage using our proprietary method, which allows a cryo-preserving chemical maximum access to the MSCs in the placenta tissue. The most valuable portion of the placenta is selected and then processed to assure that only the most valuable stem cells are stored. Americord has established 99% stem cell viability for MSCs from placenta tissue stored in our laboratory.
In addition to MSCs, the placenta tissue may also contain other valuable cells, such as hematopoietic cells and pluripotent stem cells. As of today, Americord’s proprietary method has only been validated for retrieving MSCs from placenta tissue; however, we are working to validate a method for collection of all stem cell types from the placenta. This is important because as stem cell therapies continue to advance it would allow for even more uses of placenta tissue.
The Future of Placental Stem Cells
Research has shown that placenta tissue is a rich source of a few different potentially valuable stem cells, including MSCs. Doctors are particularly enthusiastic about the potential use of MSCs in the emerging fields of gene therapy and cellular repair. MSCs are the precursor cells for the tissues of the body, and, in a laboratory setting, they have been shown to do extraordinary things, like differentiating into many important cells for the body, indicating that they could one day be used in regenerative therapies for various organs. When you bank your baby’s placental stem cells, you save what may be a key component of potential future medical treatments and cures.
Stem cells from the placenta are valuable & non-controversial
It is clear from Americord’s research that the placenta contains extremely valuable stem cells.
- Placental stem cells can differentiate not only into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, but also into many other types of tissue.
- Placental stem cells have the benefits of embryonic stem cells, but without the controversy or medical drawbacks.
You can learn more about embryonic and other types of stem cells in Cord Blood 101.
How you can preserve stem cells from the placenta
Americord is developing CordAdvantage, which will be available later this year, to harvest stem cells from cord blood in the placenta in addition to cord blood in the umbilical cord. This new technique, which will only be available through Americord, may be able to preserve enough stem cells to treat an adult.
Doctors are enthusiastic about the potential use of the particular types of stem cells that are found in the placenta in the emerging fields of gene therapy and cellular repair. When you bank your baby’s placental cord blood stem cells, you will be saving what may be a key component to potential future medical treatments and cures.
What is the Placenta?
The placenta is an organ that connects the baby to the uterus via the umbilical cord and delivers vital nutrients via the mother’s blood supply. After nutrients from the mother enter the placenta and are delivered to the baby, waste products from the baby are carried back into the placenta where they are transferred to the mother’s body to dispose of. The placenta also produces hormones that are essential to the healthy development of the baby and protect the baby from infections and sickness throughout pregnancy.
After a baby is born, following Americord’s advanced and scientifically validated process, the entire placenta can be sent to our laboratory where the stem cells it contains can be preserved for future medical use.