A 27 year old woman from Israel contracted acute secondary leukemia that endangered her life. She received umbilical cord blood stem cells from two mothers who had just given birth, which saved her life. The beauty of using cord blood is that it does not necessarily have to be an exact match, unlike bone marrow transplants. Only 25% of patients needing a bone marrow transplant actually match up with someone in their family, otherwise a search for a suitable match is located and asked to donate. This is a cumbersome and time consuming process.
Another major advantage to using umbilical cord blood stem cells is that the graft "took" in two weeks, rather than one month for bone marrow transplants. By cutting hospital stays in half, the potential cost savings for health care will be enormous. Every new mother should consider donating her cord blood to either private or public banks when she delivers her child. By building up cord blood donations in the network, matches can be readily available and by using two doses the life saving benefits are quicker. Last but not least, investing in cord blood banks will save health care untold amounts of money.
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