During the preservation of umbilical cord stem cells, most stem cell banks offer storage for 21 years which may raise questions in your mind whether stem cells can be preserved only for 21 years? Well, a research conducted by N Kurita and team have concluded that long term storage and international transportation do not affect the viability of stem cells during transplant based on their study findings published in the journal, Nature. Thus, you can preserve your baby’s stem cells for a lifetime without any concern.
Umbilical cord stem cell preservation is gaining importance across the world due to successful stem cell transplants and promising clinical trials. Over the years, cord blood banking service expanded globally as more parents have decided to bank their children’s stem cells. Due to various successful disease treatments, the umbilical cord derived stem cells are widely used for transplants which led to active international exchange of cord blood units. According to the study, over 40% of cord blood units are shipped beyond borders to other countries. So far, it was uncertain whether the viability of cord blood units is affected by long term cryopreservation and international shipment. The current research findings helped to prove that the quality of stem cells and outcome of transplantation will not be affected by preservation period or place of origin.
During the study, researchers used 2 groups: one to check the quality of 95 cord blood units received from various countries and another to analyze the effect of 127 cryopreserved cord blood units through their hematologic recovery observed in patients with hematological malignancy. Of the 127 cord blood units, 42 were cryopreserved for a period of 5-11.8 years, 44 units were shipped from other countries. The researchers also verified whether the information about the cryopreserved cord blood units provided by the stem cell banks are reliable to predict the transplantation outcomes accurately. Based on the study, researchers found the following:
- After thawing, the ratio of viable total-nucleated cells was not affected by the length of cryopreservation and the origin of cord blood units. The total nucleated cell count is used to measure the amount of stem cells present; the more, the better for transplants.
- The neutrophil engraftment was not disturbed by long term cryopreservation or origin. Engraftment is when the blood forming cells grow and produce healthy blood cells which is important to determine the success of a transplant.
- It is also found that the number of CD34+ cells present in the cord blood units before freezing is the only factor that enhances the neutrophil engraftment after a transplant.
However, this is not the first study to determine that the long term cryopreservation has no adverse effect on the transplant outcomes. There is another study conducted by researchers at Indiana School of Medicine demonstrating the efficient recovery of hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood units preserved for 23.5 years to support this view.
So go ahead, preserve your baby’s stem cells for his/her lifetime without any fear or doubts.