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Stem Cell storage - the nuts & bolts of it

"I know you really do hope that you won’t have to use them, but great to have that insurance in the case of your child falling sick with a life-threatening disease that can be cured with a transplant using their own stem cells."
- Catherine

Unbelievable advances in medicine, science and technology occur on an almost daily basis. These days, parents can have life-giving umbilical cord stem cells taken at the very moment their babies are born, and store them for one day when they may be needed to treat a life-threatening illness.

Reasons to consider storing your baby’s stem cells

Stem cell technology is a fascinating, evolving science in medical circles. Much research is  being done worldwide to find cures for many diseases where drug therapy has not been successful or could be enhanced. Currently a range of diseases are being treated with stem cell therapies, including:

  • blood disorders such as  Thalassaemia, Fanconi's anaemia, sickle cell anaemia, aplastic anaemia;
  • cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and solid tumours of childhood; and
  • metabolic and immune disorders

The umbilical cord stem cells are mainly haematopoietic (blood forming) stem cells and are therefore used in these illnesses to create new healthy bone marrow after chemotherapy. In the case of the genetic illnesses, the child's own stem cells are not used, but those of a sibling or family member could possibly be.

These therapies are successful and are currently being practiced in South Africa. The future holds huge potential for using your child's stem cells. There are human trials underway all over the world that are proving the effectiveness of stem cell therapies in diseases such as: 

  • heart disease
  • diabetes type 1
  • cartilage replacement for arthritis
  • blindness
  • stroke patients
  • spinal cord injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

They are able to convert the blood forming stem cells into stem cells that will produce other cells of the body that can replace the diseased cells.

The tissue of the umbilical cord can also be preserved, as it has been found that the cord tissue contains a high concentration of Mesenchymal stem cells and are able to differentiate into many cells of the body (nerve, skin, blood, bone, cartilage,  fat, muscle, skeleton, heart, kidney, endothelium, liver and pancreas cells).

As technology advances and medicine moves more towards cellular and molecular-based therapies, the need for stem cell therapies will undoubtedly increase.


Netcells Cryogenics is a privately-owned South African stem cell bank and is a leading provider of storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells. If you are interested in storing your baby’s stem cells, please call Netcells on 0861 NETCELLS/0861 6382 3557 or email info@netcells.co.za or visit www.netcells.co.za for more information.

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