We all want the best for our children, whether they’re 2 or 22! You’ve already taken an important, potentially life-saving step by saving your child’s cord blood. Did you know that it can help you get a head start on cystic fibrosis, among other childhood disorders and diseases?
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a common genetic disorder that causes an excess production of mucus in the body. The thick, sticky mucus can cause problems in the body, especially in the lungs, as it has the potential to block the airways from deep within.
Here are some quickfire facts about the condition:
- Affects one is 2,500 to 3,500 babies
- Less common in African American & Asian babies
- It can be inherited when both parents carry the gene
- Also affects the gut, pancreas, and reproductive system
- The average age for CF sufferers is a little over 40 years
- There is no cure for CF, but treatments are progressing
Some research indicates that testing for CF can be done in the first few days after birth. If your baby was never tested, they usually show symptoms within the first year, although every child is different… Some may take a few years to show signs.
Cystic Fibrosis and Stem Cells
Stem cells are some of the most interesting cells in the body, as they have the ability to transform into any other kind of cell. When used in treatment, they can successfully reduce inflammation and regenerate damaged cells.
Research has also found that stem cells can:
- Boost immune system response, which can lower the inflammatory, mucus-producing response to bacteria and irritants
- Potentially regenerate damaged lung tissue, which can help to repair damage already done and strengthen the lungs
- Turn new lung cells into fully functioning airway cells, which can ease respiration troubles
Although the FDA has not yet approved stem cell therapies for CF, research is well underway and suggests that stem cells could be an effective treatment.
Current research suggests the following exciting possibilities:
- Gene editing to correct airway stem cell abnormalities, followed by implantation of corrected cells into patients with CF
- Transplantation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, created in a lab by reprogramming skin or blood cells
- Several clinical trials for medical drugs targeting mutated CFTR proteins
This may sound complicated, but it shows the huge scope of stem cell-related research and potential treatment for cystic fibrosis!
If you have done cord blood banking previously, we truly believe that you’ve given your child the most precious gift by saving their cord blood stem cells – HOPE.
You can watch your child grow up happy, knowing that should they experience a health scare, you’ve got a backup plan.
Expecting a baby soon? Download our FREE Cord Blood Info Pack to learn more about cord blood benefits and how cord blood banking works.