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Umbilical Cord Blood Banking of Negligible Value: Experts

ilical cord are stored within nitrogen vapours at minus 190 degrees Celsius.

Bharat Jain, professor at the G.R. Medical College, Gwalior, also disagreed with the theory of storing blood from the umbilical cord right after the birth of a child.

"There is a hype about cord blood banking. There is no data to show that cord blood is superior to bone marrow. In many conditions like Thalassemia major, bone marrow transplant is superior, as cord blood transplantation has a higher risk of graft rejection," Jain maintained.

According to Kumar, the rejection rate of cord blood is as high as 29 percent.

"These private players claim to save the stem cells for a period of 21 years but in all likelihood, people below the age of 21 never face such critical illness," he said.

Tulika Seth, also a haematologist, agreed.

"Most of the diseases that benefit from stem cell use occur during old age, when the required doseage of preserved cord blood cells would be insufficient or unviable," she maintained.

"Moreover, stem cells could be collected from the bone marrow or mobilized from the peripheral blood, as is the current practice. Thus, failure to collect cord blood cells at birth is unlikely to be detrimental," Seth maintained.

Doctors also said that India is yet to achieve success in stem cell transplants.

"At AIIMS, we have suffered a setback. Doctors at Apollo Hospital too conducted a transplant but faced rejection," Kumar pointed out.

Private players do not agree but also speak of the need for regulation.

"Saving the umbilical cord blood provides an opportunity to the family to secure the life of their children. It holds a lot of promise for regenerative medicine but what is required is regulation," Cryo Stemcell chief S.G.A. Rao contended.

"We are against sheer commercialisation but believe that private cord blood banking needs proper regula
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