What is cord blood – And What are Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

Cord blood is the blood that circulates between the umbilical cord, the placenta and the fetus during pregnancy and which remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of the baby. The umbilical cord was always considered a wasteful product and was discharged as "hospital waste". The scientific developments of the last 20 years have changed this perception and now we recognize how valuable the cord blood is as a source of stem cells.

The cord blood is a rich source of a specific class of stem cells, called progenitor hematopoietic stem cells. The basic characteristic of these cells is that that can generate the different types of blood cells, namely red cells, white cells and platelets, as well as all the precursor cells that make up the rest of the blood of the human body.

Because of their capability to differentiate into other types of cells and their potential to treat a number of blood disorders and other diseases, umbilical cord blood stem cells are isolated and frozen for future use.