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Uses / Impacts of Cord Blood

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Image is from www.cordblood.com

You’ve likely heard about stem cells, given the contentious debate regarding its usage. What cannot be denied, however, is that it is immensely useful in the treatment of more than 80 different serious diseases. In a time when general medicine still struggles to keep pace with the growing numbers of cancer patients and people with immunodeficiency disorders, cord blood has proven to be a viable alternative in clinical trials.

What, Exactly, Is Cord Blood

Cord blood refers to blood from the umbilical cord of a baby. These early cells have very special properties that are absent in adult cells: they can self-renew and self-repair. Given that a majority of diseases are actually affectations on the cellular level, this property of self-repair is hugely beneficial in the treatment of such ailments.

The current status of cord blood treatment is that they are largely relegated to research laboratories and clinical trials. The hope – which has been realized with varying degrees of success already – is that cord blood will prove essential in the development of therapies for some major illnesses.

What Is the Record of Application and Success So Far?

In the past 2.5 decades, the stem cells from cord blood have been used to treat 80+ diseases and medical conditions. Many of these issues have no other current treatment, and include such debilitating conditions such as cerebral palsy, leukemia and neuroblastoma. To date, the 30,000 – and counting – cord blood transplants have been approved to treat:

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – which is a specific type of cancer that originates in the bloodstream and adversely affects the lymph nodes
  • A cluster of disorders that target the metabolic system as well as the contribute to immunodeficiencies; such as Hunter syndrome, Osteopetrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia and Lesch Nyhan syndrome
  • Neuroblastoma, Medulloblastoma and other malignant tumors such as Retinoblastoma
  • Cancers that target the blood immune system – such as Leukemia, which is responsible for nearly 60,000 deaths per day as of 2017. Stem cells from cord blood have proved useful in treating all forms and stages of leukemia and related blood cancers

The Next Stage of Cord Blood Usage

The dozens of trials in process all around the world continue to produce very positive results; in fact, the approval of each new one is contingent on the success of the previous phases. In particular, many of the newer illnesses that the recuperative powers of stem cells from cord blood endow include:

  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Graft vs Host Disease
  • Multiple types of encephalopathy

Trial after trial has shown that patients who undergo cord blood therapy, and combine this treatment with regularly scheduled health check-ups and good diets show a markedly improved quality of life.

The Method of Treatment

The method of treatment is simply the normal blood transfusion; except using cord blood. The self-repairing stem cells contained therein progress through the patient’s blood stream, and perform their healing touch, so to speak, on the tissue and cells with which they come into contact. The overall effect of this is to essentially create a new, well-functioning immune system capable of warding off immune-related illnesses the same way a healthy person’s system does.

The cord blood that you, for example, would use, will be taken from either your child or a sibling. The recommended person is actually up to the specific type of disease, and your physician’s analysis. For example, cancers are best treated (usually) using cord blood from your baby; whereas inherited genetic diseases employ a sibling’s cord blood.

 

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Causes and Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis

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Image is from Arthritis Foundation Blog

Juvenile arthritis is a disease that affects children ages 16 and under, and it involves inflammation of the tissue that lines the inside of the joints. This tissue is called synovium.

What are the Causes?

Most forms of juvenile arthritis are caused by a malfunction of the immune system, which places it in the category of autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body attacks it’s own healthy cells and tissues. The result is inflammation of the synovium.

However, not all cases of juvenile arthritis are autoimmune. Another cause is labeled an autoinflammatory condition. The disease process behind an autoinflammatory condition is different from that of an autoimmune disorder.

While autoinflammatory conditions result in inflammation and involve an overactive immune system, the similarities between it and an autoimmune disease end there. With an autoimmune response, the body releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack the body. An autoinflammatory condition involves a more primitive part of the immune system, and the reason it malfunctions remains unknown.

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is the commonly accepted term for the seven different types of arthritis that affect children. These are:

  • Systemic
  • Oligoarticular
  • Polyarticular with a negative Rheumatoid factor
  • Polyarticular with a positive Rheumatoid factor
  • Psoriatic
  • Enthesitis-related
  • Undifferentiated

What are the Symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

General symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Warmth
  • Swelling

These symptoms last for more than six continuous weeks. The following symptoms are specific to each type of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:

  • Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – Arthritis symptoms with or preceded by an intermittent fever that lasts for at least two weeks. One or more of the following symptoms accompany it: lymph node, liver, or spleen enlargement, inflammation of the lining of the lungs or heart, a flat, pale, pink rash that does not itch and can move from one part of the body to another.
  • Oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – Arthritis affecting one to four joints for the first six months of the disease.
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Negative Rheumatoid Factor) – Arthritis in at least five joints for the first six months of the disease and all tests for the presence of Rheumatoid Factor proteins are negative.
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Positive Rheumatoid Factor) – Arthritis in at least five joints for the first six months of the disease and two out of three tests for the presence of Rheumatoid Factor proteins are positive. Tests must be taken at least three months apart.
  • Psoriatic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – Patient has both arthritis and psoriasis or arthritis and at least two of the following: a relative diagnosed with psoriasis, nail splitting or pitting, or inflammation of one entire toe or finger.
  • Enthesitis-related Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – This occurs where a joint capsule, tendon, or ligament attaches to the bone. The most common locations are the Achilles tendon behind the ankle and around the knee. Both arthritis and inflammation must be present or either one with at least two of the following: inflammation of the sacroiliac joint with inflammatory bowel disease or acute inflammation of the eye, enthesitis arthritis, arthritis in males over six years, a positive HLA blood test, a family history of ankylosing spondylitis, or inflammation at the base of the spine or in the lower back area.
  • Undifferiented Arthritis – Symptoms do not fit with any of the six previous categories.

Researchers now believe that both environmental and genetics play a part in the development of juvenile arthritis.

 

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