How to preserve your child’s health?

Until a few years ago, the umbilical cord was discarded after the birth of the child. Today, families can choose to bank it, thus preserving a very precious resource for the medicine of the future. Interview with Prof. Dr. Christian Breymann, gynaecologist at the Ärzteztezentrum Hirslanden-Seefeld.

What are umbilical cord stem cells and how are they stored?

Umbilical cord tissue and placental blood are valuable sources of pluripotent stem cells, i.e. primitive, yet unspecialised cells with unique biological and immunological properties. They are capable of self-renewal, of replacing cells damaged by trauma or disease, and of differentiating into a variety of other cells.

Umbilical cord banking involves collecting blood and tissue from the umbilical cord, isolating and freezing the stem cells it contains, and storing these samples in tanks of liquid nitrogen at -196°C. It is a simple, non-invasive, painless and safe procedure for both mother and child.

Why is it important to preserve them?

The use of haematopoietic stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood today makes it possible to treat more than 85 diseases, particularly blood and immune system disorders. Stem cells derived from umbilical cord tissue, called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), thanks to their ability to form various tissues (bone, muscle, cartilage, etc.) and their anti-inflammatory properties are very effective in regenerative medicine and in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cerebral palsy.

Although there are alternatives to cord blood banking, such as the collection of stem cells from bone marrow and peripheral blood in adults, umbilical cord stem cells have many specific advantages related to the fact that they are the youngest and most efficient cells in the human body and are relatively free of environmental and electromagnetic contamination. The preservation of these cells is therefore a real opportunity to benefit from cell therapies currently in use and under development.

At what point should a woman ask herself whether to store the umbilical cord?

Mothers-to-be or the parents have time to think about stem cell banking throughout the pregnancy. I recommend the conservation of these cells because of the positive results obtained in recent years. Recently, patients at my clinic performed stem cell therapy on their child who was suffering from a slight paralysis of the arm due to a premature birth.

This significantly improved the child’s neurological deficits.

How does Nescens Swiss Stem Cell Science, which ensures the private banking of these stem cells, differ from its competitors?

Nescens Swiss Stem Cell Science, which belongs to the renowned Swiss group AEVIS VICTORIA SA, offers its services only on Swiss territory, the birth itself having to take place in Switzerland. The storage of these stem cells at Nescens Swiss Stem Cell Science is a guarantee of Swiss quality since the analysis, preparation and storage phases take place on Swiss territory. In addition, the company’s experts are also available to the future parents for any clarification of the procedure.

 

Interview published in the magazine Salle d’attente – ©Helvète Media 2020 – Nr. 7 September 2020 – Article written by Adeline Beijns