Umbilical cord blood stem cells -- an ethical source for regenerative medicine
McGuckin, Colin P.
Medicine and Law: The World Association for Medical Law 2008 March; 27(1): 147-165
Never before in the history of human kind have we tried to keep a tissue preserved for the entire life of a human. This, however, is what is proposed with umbilical cord blood banking. The media often report on the latest 'Stem Cell' breakthrough in 'Regenerative Medicine'. Between human embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood stem cells, it is hard to decipher what all these have done and will do for patients. Cord blood is collected after birth with no harm to mother or baby and contains stem cells with an incredible potential to form tissues including neural, liver and pancreatic tissues in a laboratory. In less than 20 years, cord blood has become the biggest real success story in stem cells, with nearly 10,000 patients treated, from blood and immune transplants, through to more controversial interventions, such as Type 1 diabetes. With ongoing clinical trials and research predicting new avenues, the future seems assured for this stem cell source. What does this predict, however, for cord blood banking? More importantly, what does it justify?
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