Medically reviewed by
While there are currently several treatment options available for aplastic anemia, cord blood therapy has emerged as a promising new treatment option and may be the only possible cure. Cord blood stem cells have the ability to develop into different types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This makes them an ideal treatment option for patients with aplastic anemia, who often have low levels of all three types of blood cells. The stem cells used for the transplant are collected from the umbilical cord after a baby is born, so there is no risk or discomfort to the baby or the mother.
One of the most compelling examples of cord blood therapy for aplastic anemia is the case of Henrique, a young boy who was diagnosed with the disease at just six months old. According to a story by Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Henrique's parents decided to store his cord blood at birth, and when he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, they decided to use it as a treatment option. Within a few months of receiving the cord blood transplant, Henrique's blood counts began to improve, and he was eventually cured of the disease.
While Henrique's case is just one example, there have been several clinical trials and studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of cord blood therapy for aplastic anemia. A study published in the Journal of Hematology & Oncology found that cord blood transplantation resulted in a 5-year survival rate of 69% in patients with severe aplastic anemia. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that cord blood transplantation had a 5-year survival rate of 79% in patients with severe aplastic anemia who had not responded to other treatment options.
One of the biggest advantages of cord blood therapy is that it is a relatively non-invasive procedure. The stem cells used for the transplant are collected from the umbilical cord after a baby is born, so there is no risk or discomfort to the baby or the mother. Additionally, because cord blood stem cells are less mature than other types of stem cells, there is less risk of rejection by the patient's immune system.
Of course, like any medical procedure, cord blood therapy does come with some risks. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, some potential risks of cord blood transplantation include infection, graft-versus-host disease, and organ damage. Additionally, not all patients with aplastic anemia are good candidates for cord blood therapy, and the procedure may not be covered by insurance.
Despite these risks, cord blood therapy has emerged as a promising new treatment option for patients with aplastic anemia. As the number of cases of the disease continues to rise, it is likely that cord blood therapy will play an increasingly important role in the treatment of this serious blood disorder.