Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Biological Insurance" of a family

One of my friends was conceiving and fortunately I had a chance to attend the presentation delivered by an executive of Cryobank to her and her husband where I learnt about this "Biological Insurance" of the family. I was amazed to discover that the umbilical cord which was earlier regarded as a medical waste after the baby's delivery and was thrown in waste bins, has proven to be a life saver for the baby and the family from around 80 diseases which includes diseases like leukemia, heart damanges, Liver Cirhossis, Autism, kidney damages, Thalassemia and so many such diseases which directly impact the life of a person. This biological insurance is otherwise known as "Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Therapy".

The process is carried out through preservence of the stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood after the delivery of a baby. These are then preserved in specialized banks which store them in some lab conditions and are delivered whenever the person whose cells were preserved or someone from his family require them in case of any of the diseases/injuries (that can be cured from them). So this insurance is not only for the owner of these stem cells, but for the parents and siblings as well. The probablity of a parent matching these stems cells is 50% and for a sibling, it is 25%.
Stem cells are the primitive cells which are the building blocks of organs and tissues of the body. They have property to repair, rejuvenate and regenerate the tissues and organs. Stem cells have two properties - either they can differentiate into other type of cells or self generate. So they can divide themselves symmetrically and produce daughter cells of identical kind or divide asymmetrically with one of the daughter cells, giving birth to some specialized cells like blood cell, brain cells etc which perform some specialized functions in the body. For example, if a patient is suffereing from Liver Cirrhosis which is liver damage disease, then the stem cells are transplanted to the patient's liver which can help in regeneration of liver cells. In many treatments like Cancer, these stem cells are used during Chemotherapy where the cancer cells are destroyed and these cells are transplanted to rejuvenate or regenerate the organ.

This whole knowledge was a fascinating discovery for me in  field of medical science and technology. Knowing all this, I was wondering with how much intricacy God has designed "Life". The umblical cord blood which was earlier just a medical waste is such a boon for saving the life of a person and take away all pain. Also if you look closely, the origin of a child through which the child remain connected to his mother in her potbelly for 9 months, which is the umbilical cord, has proven to be the life insurance. God must have thought a lot while designing this Life and his creations are the biggest "inventions" (not "discoveries") which is incomparable to any of these discoveries by humans. We humans,  just discovered which God invented millions of years ago. Hats off to the great designer!

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