A recent research suggests that the immune cells found in the umbilical cord blood have the ability to destroy the cancer cells quicker than adult cells based on a study conducted on mice model.
At present, chemotherapy and stem cells are used for cancer treatment such as leukemias and lymphomas in humans. Leukemia is a form of blood cancer, affecting the normal production of healthy blood cells and leads to serious complications. The treatment includes a combination of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. During the treatment:
- Chemotherapy targets the abnormal cancer cells and destroys them.
- Transfusion of cord blood or bone marrow stem cells renews the immune system and produce new healthy blood cells.
- Also, the immune cells present in the blood clean the system by removing the residual cancer cells which may have survived chemotherapy.
Cord Blood Cells Vs Bone Marrow Cells
Although bone marrow stem cells can be used for transplants, umbilical cord stem cells are widely preferred. The umbilical cord blood contains immunologically immature stem cells which pose lower risk of transplant rejection compared to bone marrow stem cells. However, the physicians thought if the immune cells of umbilical cord are less aggressive to the recipient then they may also be less aggressive in destroying the cancer cells – the only downside of using umbilical cord blood.
In London, a research study was conducted on mice that proved this theory wrong and the study findings were published in the scientific journal, Blood. The team member of this research, Paul Veys of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London states that it is wrong to assume that less aggressive stem cells won’t fight cancer cells; in fact it is the complete reverse.
Umbilical Cord Blood For Leukemia Treatment
The research team set an experiment to compare the impacts of injecting immune cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood into the mice affected with B-cell lymphoma, a form of human cancer. Tumor seemed to disappear rapidly in mice group that received umbilical cord cells, whereas the mice group that received adult cells showed no signs of remission. When the researchers examined the tumor sample, they found that the fetal cells (umbilical cord) triggered a rapid production of white blood immune cells, CD4, and CD8 to fight and destroy the cancerous tissue.
Usually, stem cells from the umbilical cord are believed to be naïve and ineffective in destroying the tumor cells but this experiment showed that these cells are capable of attacking the cancer tissue without practice. It is speculated that the fetal stem cells have special immunological abilities to provide immediate protection to the baby inside the womb. This ability helps in fighting against tumor cells, making it a perfect candidate for the treatment of leukemia in future.
Umbilical cord blood has the potential to save patients from cancer and if preserved, it can be used as a viable tool for cancer treatments in future. Preserving your baby’s life saving umbilical cord stem cells is simple and affordable with LifeCell.
Know more about Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Banking At LifeCell.