This new concept of treatment has expanded the horizon to a large extent. Treatment of blood diseases has now become easy in recent times. Now, a common question may come to our mind – how long ‘Cord Blood’ or ‘Placental Blood’ can be preserved for treatment?
Today, cord blood transfusion is an effective system of treatment for those patients with cancer and blood diseases. The stem cells and progenitor cells in placental blood are the ingredients that can produce and diversify new blood cells with retaining patient’s immune system. Especially, a distinctive collection of cord blood contains millions of blood producing stem cells.
Cord blood is preserved in government blood banks and private blood banks, but its process is something specific where it is stored in a ‘Cryopreserved frozen state’. When they are unfrozen for therapy they are still alive and carry out functional property to produce new blood cells in patient’s body.
‘Cryopreservation’ is a specific process where ‘organelles’, ‘cells’, ‘tissues’, ‘extra-cellular matrix’, ‘organs’ or any other biological structures prone to damage by uncontrolled biochemical reactions are preserved with cooling in very low temperature. The temperature can be maintained to −80 °C using solid carbon dioxide or −196 °C using liquid nitrogen.
Biochemical reactions that damage biological material is effectively become stopped at very low temperature. Cryopreservation strategies look to achieve low temperatures without causing extra harm caused by the arrangement of ice crystals amid freezing. Traditional ’cryopreservation’ has depended on covering the material to be frozen with molecules named ‘cryoprotectants’. New strategies are always being researched because of the natural toxicity of numerous ‘cryoprotectants’.
The theory says, if the cord blood stem cells are properly ‘cryopreserved’, it should be possible to keep that intact for many decades in frozen state. It depends upon the quality of the ‘cryopreservation’ procedure.
Some of the points are important here like:
(i) Storage facility should assure that the ‘cryogenic nitrogen’ tanks are maintained at very low temperature continuously.
(ii) Power supply should be uninterruptedly maintained at certain frequency.
(iii) Competence of the laboratory staffs who defreeze the cells to revive them is very important.
It was observed recently that efficient cell recovery was possible from ‘cryopreserved’ cord blood cell even after 14 years. Based on several studies, scientists have seen that cord blood can be stored frozen for decades and still be a powerful source of cells for transplantation.