Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cord Blood Banking

We recently decided to store our second kid’s cord blood with stem life as a form of an insurance policy for him. It doesn’t really cost much and we thought that since we did not store for Arielle, at least we have the opportunity to store for this one. Cord blood banking is pretty new in Malaysia, only made available since about 6 years ago. Research and use of stem cells therapy to cure diseases has been ongoing in the Western countries and Asia is beginning to catch up with it. Two of my friends stored their babies' cord blood and I recently saw some brochures on it. So when I asked Jon jon, he was all for it. He said to at least store for one of our kids in case we require it.

Did some research on the use of stem cells to determine if it is worth to store or not. Initial questions revealed that should store only if need to use it to cure any leukemic or thalassemic conditions currently existing within the family. Either that or if the family has any history of such conditions and the likelihood of the child getting it is high, it would be good to store. Further investigations revealed that stem cells can also be used to treat the following diseases which are really not common and unheard of except for the cancer bits :

Myelodysplastic Syndromes
• Amyloidosis
• Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)
• Refractory Anemia (RA)
• Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts (RAEB)
• Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts in
Transformation (RAEB-T)
• Refractory Anemia with Ringed Sideroblasts (RARS)
S tem Cell Disorders
• Aplastic Anemia (Severe)
• Congenital Cytopenia
• Dyskeratosis Congenita
• Fanconi Anemia
• Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)
Myeloproliferative Disorders
• Acute Myelofibrosis
• Agnogenic Myeloid Metaplasia (Myelofibrosis)
• Essential Thrombocythemia
• Polycythemia Vera
Lymphoproliferative Disorders
• Hodgkin’s Disease
• Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
• Prolymphocytic Leukemia
Phagocyte Disorders
• Chediak-Higashi Syndrome
• Chronic Granulomatous Disease
• Neutrophil Actin Deficiency
• Reticular Dysgenesis
Liposomal Storage Diseases
• Adrenoleukodystrophy
• Gaucher’s Disease
• Hunter’s Syndrome (MPS-II)
• Hurler’s Syndrome (MPS-IH)
• Krabbe Disease
• Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome (MPS-VI)
• Metachromatic Leukodystrophy
• Morquio Syndrome (MPS-IV)
• Mucolipidosis II (I-cell Disease)
• Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS)
• Niemann-Pick Disease
• Sanfilippo Syndrome (MPS-III)
• Scheie Syndrome (MPS-IS)
• Sly Syndrome, Beta-Glucuronidase Deficiency
• Wolman Disease
Histiocytic Disorders
• Familial Erythrophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis
• Hemophagocytosis
• Histiocytosis-X
• Langerhans’ Cell Histiocytosis
Inherited Erythrocyte Abnormalities
• Beta Thalassemia Major
• Blackfan-Diamond Anemia
• Pure Red Cell Aplasia
• Sickle Cell Disease
Congenital (Inherited) Immune System Disorders
• Absence of T & B Cells SCID
• Absence of T Cells, Normal B Cell SCID
• Ataxia-Telangiectasia
• Bare Lymphocyte Syndrome
• Common Variable Immunodeficiency
• DiGeorge Syndrome
• Kostmann Syndrome
• Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency
• Omenn’s Syndrome
• Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
• SCID with Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency
• Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome
• X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disorder
Other Inherited Disorders
• Cartilage-Hair Hypoplasia
• Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
• Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria
• Glanzmann Thrombasthenia
• Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome
• Osteopetrosis
• Tay Sachs Disease
Inherited Platelet Abnormalities
• Amegakaryocytosis / Congenital Thrombocytopenia
Plasma Cell Disorders
• Multiple Myeloma
• Plasma Cell Leukemia
• Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
Other Malignancies
• Brain Tumors
• Breast Cancer
• Ewing Sarcoma
• Neuroblastoma
• Ovarian Cancer
• Renal Cell Carcinoma
• Small-Cell Lung Cancer
• Testicular Cancer
Autoimmune Diseases
• Evan Syndrome
• Multiple Sclerosis (Experimental)
• Rheumatoid Arthritis (Experimental)
• Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Experimental)

What is the probability of our kid contracting one of the above especially if we do not have such conditions in the family tree? What else can stem cells be used for? Did a google search and found out that potential treatable diseases includes the more familiar conditions like :

• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Diabetes
• Heart Disease
• Liver Disease
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Spinal Cord Injury
• Stroke
• Knee Injury

More research are being carried out to expand on the use of stem cells to cure other diseases and also on how to "multiply stem cells". The amt of cells in the cord blood may be insufficient to treat an adult, so as the kid grows, the cord blood may be insufficient to treat his or her ailments and donors may be required.

Of course we always pray that both our kids will be blessed with good health and will not require to take out the cord blood.

Doing a google search with words like "cord blood banking" and "stem cells therapy" can provide lots of info on the topic.


Ann said... you are doing it for #2! Heard #1 has a possibilitiy of also using #2's cord.

Wonder how Dr Dr will take to it! Was it something you had to tell him beforehand?

Dini said...


I have not told gynae yet...will do so this sat when I see him. Hope I will not deliver before that...hee hee.

Yup have to tell him before hand and on check in have to hand over the collection kit to the Dr.

MLD said...

Just curious as to how much it costs and how long they store it.


Dad of two with metachromatic leukdystrophy.
MLD Foundation

Dini said...

Initial fee is actually RM2,500 with annual storage fee of RM250. But stem life is having a promo now of RM2,000 and if you pay upfront, it will be an additional RM100 discount. My company has a corporate discount, so I ended paying RM1,500 for the upfront enrolment. If you want to pay the storage fee upfront now, stem life is offereing 40% discount. When the kid reaches 21, he or she will have to decide if he or she wants to continue. They would store as long as you want or until you use it.

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