What exactly are Baby Stem Cells?
UMBILICAL CORD BLOOD STEM CELLS
Stem cells are among the most powerful cells in the human body. Often called “master cells”, they stimulate the creation of other cells and are the building blocks of the body, making up and repairing all organs and tissues. Stem cells have the ability to renew themselves and develop into any of the 220 cell types that make up the human body. THAI StemLife collects and stores cells from the umbilical cord, which are known as hematopoietic (blood-making) stem cells and are similar to stem cells from bone marrow and peripheral blood but younger and considered to more easily become other cell types as well.
The initial duty of these cells is to differentiate into red or white blood cells and platelets but recent research has also proved that Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPC-blood vessel forming cells) and Mesenchymal Cells (bone, cartilage, nerve, and muscle forming cells) are present in Umbilical Cord Blood and Cord Tissue and Placenta Linings and thus the possibilities become endless.
Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells (UCB)
The blood in the umbilical cord of the newborn baby is a hugely important source of one type of adult stem cells called Cord blood stem cells.
We, as an umbilical cord blood bank, offer you all the services needed in collecting, processing, freezing and storing the cord blood stem cells of your precious little one that has just arrived in this world! After collecting umbilical cord blood with our closed system collection kit of international standards, the blood will be immediately transported to our laboratory (IN BANGKOK and not in some remote country or risk flood in an upcountry laboratory) to be processed using the latest SEPAX technology, the stem cells separated and frozen at minus 196 degrees Celcius in a state of “suspended animation” to preserve them in the best state possible. Storing your baby’s stem cells in Bangkok with THAI StemLife circumvents all risks with cold chain disruption when transporting outside of the country.
And more importantly, you know who to contact and you can always visit our laboratory! It will also be easy and safe for you to request your stem cells should you need them in the future and not needing to send your loved ones for treatment to remote countries, different cultures and strange faces. Our company also possesses a so called “Cryoshipper” that is a portable liquid Nitrogen tank for transports all over the world.
Cord blood collection happens easily moments after your baby has been delivered to this world without risks or derangement of the delivery process (be it natural birth or caesarian section) within 5 minutes. The cord blood will be collected after ligation of the umbilical cord without any pain to the mother or baby! Tissue compatibility probability within the family is higher than outside the family (one in four compared to 1 in 50,000) making it possible for other members of the family to use these stem cells should such a need arise in the future (HLA compatibility testing will be necessary before). Uses of stem cells will increase in the future, the number of diseases treatable with stem cells today is more than 100, and these increases are exponential making probable to treat heart and central nervous system diseases (stroke, spinal cord injuries) in the very near future. Experimental results in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are incredibly encouraging and on track. Families around the world are increasingly keeping this precious blood full of stem cells and now it is available to you as well!
Indications for Hematopoietic
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Congenital immune deficiencies
Severe combined immunodeficiency disease
Marrow failure syndromes
Severe aplastic anemia
(congenital hypoplastic anemia)
Inborn disorders of metabolism
(eg, Hunter or Hurler syndrome)
(eg, fucosidosis, mannosidosis)
Lysosomal disorders (eg, Gaucher, Pompe or Neimann-Pick disease)
Sickle cell disease
Malignant or clonal diseases of marrow
Chronic myelogenous leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Renal cell carcinoma
Small cell lung cancer
Childhood solid tumors
Acquired aplastic anemia
Systemic lupus erythematosus
incl. Type 1 Diabetes
From: Duarte RF et al, Bone Marrow Transplantation 2019 The European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT)
Traumatic Brain Injuries
(Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)
Spinal Cord Injuries
In a gated community in the Bangkok suburbs, a three-year-old boy gets up from his mat and walks towards a white board on the wall. He doodles on it with an arrange marker pen before returning to the mat, “We are very happy”, said mother, 35, the boy’s mother. “Just a few days ago, we had to coax my son to walk, and he couldn’t walk more than 10 steps before he stopped,” she adds, smiling.
BABY OF THEIR DREAMS At the interview, the boy was tottering all over the place with an irresistible grin on the whiteboard and joined his sisters who were coloring their books. It’s hard to believe that less than a month before; the young boy couldn’t care less about walking and poking around.
Despite his cuteness and endearing ways, mother couldn’t help feeling concerned when he didn’t sit up after seven months. “If you ask the doctors, they will tell you not to worry because some children develop slower than others. But after one year, he still wasn’t sitting up by himself. It was quite obvious that something wasn’t right with my baby,” said mom. “He is such a delightful child, and we didn’t want his inability to walk to hold him back.”
In the beginning, no one could determine the reason for his problem. It took the doctors eight months before they could conclusively say the problem was caused by cerebral palsy. The delay in diagnosis was because first, the doctors had to check his spine, bones, and conduct various tests to rule out the other possible reasons their boy could not walk. Cerebral palsy cases differ greatly from one case to the other and there is no simple test to determine the problem.
A COMMON CONDITION Cerebral palsy is the cause for the range of disabilities affecting spastic children. Effects of cerebral palsy range from minimal to extreme. Some children affected with cerebral palsy look perfectly normal except for the occasional clumsiness while 20 percent are mentally hampered by the condition. Most patients are normal despite their impaired ability to control their expressions and reactions, which leads people to believe that they lack intelligence. In truth, some are exceptionally intelligent.
Dr. Konstantinos Papadopoulos, or Dr. Kostas for short, Chief Medical Research and Development Officer of StemLife Thailand explains, “Cerebral palsy is a condition stemming from the patients’ brain which fails to develop fully just before or after a child is born. It tends to occur more frequently of there was a problem during birth, while lack of oxygen and infections are believed to be a factor, in many cases no one knows why it happens, it causes disruption in motor skills, visible as spasticity, paralysis or seizures. It’s more common than we think, afflicting one out of 500 babies born and one in three preterm babies. It only causes mental problems in 20 percent of the cases and this usually occurs only in very premature babies.” The boy’s case, he appears as normal as any other three-year-old, except for the weakness in his legs. His condition is also referred to as being spastic diplegia. According to the doctors, there is no cure and the only hope for him is to put him through physiotherapy sessions to prevent the muscles from deteriorating. Following this advice, the he was taken for physical therapy at the hospital twice a week and coached home at home daily.
SAVING FOR THE FUTURE to prepare themselves, mother and father asked doctors and learnt what they could about cerebral palsy on the internet. As they searched for something that could help their son get better, the couple across a new technique that brought positive results to another boy in Bangkok which had a similar condition. After 18 weeks, he was already walking, swimming and trying to run. They didn’t know much, but one thing they did know was that the child’s parents had saved his cord blood at birth.
“Lucky for us, we had stored son’s cord blood at birth,” said the father. “It was my sister who recommended it to us. She had banked in her son’s cord blood and suggested we do the same for ours.”
“We didn’t really know what the benefits were, but at 100,000 Baht for processing and lifetime storage, the price was reasonable. We figured that it might come in handy in case anything happened to our son’s in the future. We didn’t know that we would need it after less than three years,” mother shipped in.
The whole process took 10 days because the boy needed some injections beforehand. The application itself only took 10 minutes. 30 ml. Of cord blood, about two tablespoonfuls was sent into the boy veins through a drip. “After some initial discomfort as the needle was inserted, the boy carried on watching TB and laughing at the cartoons. His doctor kept him in ICU for observation for a day. He had some itching that night but it cleared by morning,” mother related.
“This use for cord blood was started in the United States and has now spread to Europe and Asia. At the moment, the application is still at the trial stage and no reports have been written about the practice. However, children who were infused with their own cord blood got on their feet more quickly than those who only had regular physiotherapy which sometimes takes as long as eight to nine years before showing clear improvement,” said Dr. Kostas.
WALKING AWAY! “The results we saw after a week are very encouraging,” said mom. “He used to be listless and didn’t like to walk. After infusion, he looked more alert and interested in his surroundings. He speaks clearly now.
With an arm around her son to keep him steady, “See how normal the angle of his feet is now? He doesn’t even need corrective shoes anymore. His left leg used to be a problem but not anymore. His legs are not that strong yet, but we’ll be happy if he can improve enough to walk by himself and go to school like other kids.” Dr. Kostas assured her that he most probably will achieve that. “I know he may not be 100 percent cured, but I hope that it will be enough to help him a normal, productive life.”