Difference Between Cord Blood and Cord Tissue

In this 21st century with so much advancement all around, medicine has surely seen maximum improvement. Harvesting of cord blood and cord tissue from the umbilical cord is proof of the same. These are preserved for use in the future in the form of regenerative medicine.

Many times, parents don’t know if they should bank both or one of them. Thus, it becomes necessary to know the differences between the two and take a proper call.

Cord Blood vs Cord Tissue

The main difference between cord blood and cord tissue is the kind of stem cells harvested. Cord blood contains high amounts of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These help in treating over 80 medical conditions. On the other hand, cord tissue is rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which help in tissue repair, preventing irritation, etc.

Cord Blood and Cord Tissue

After the birth of a newborn, several traces of blood can be found on the placenta. Even the umbilical cord that attaches the newborn to his mother, contains blood traces. This blood is called cord blood. It contains high amounts of stem cells identical to the ones found in the bone marrow. So, this can be used in bone marrow transplantation.

Cord tissue refers to the insulating tissue found between the two arteries and a vein in the umbilical cord. Cord tissues contain white cells, fats, and several stem cells. The use of stem cells from cord tissue was discovered late and it is still being researched. Clinical trials are being run on these for their use in regenerative medicine.

Comparison Table Between Cord Blood and Cord Tissue

Parameters of ComparisonCord BloodCord Tissue
CompositionRed blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, stem cells, and plasmaWhite cells, fats, and several stem cells.
Kind of stem cells foundHematopoietic stem cells(HSCs)Mesenchymal stem cells(MSCs)
Helps in the treatment ofOver 80 medical conditions can be treated such as autism, cerebral palsyCan be used to treat heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Banking(Storage and preservation)Cord blood banking started in the 1990sCord tissue banking started in 2008
FDA’s approvalIt has received FDA approval to be used in treatments.Does not have FDA’s approval

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood refers to the blood found in the placenta and umbilical cord after the delivery of a baby. The doctor usually cuts the umbilical cord in a manner leaving approximately 80-120 millimeters of blood inside. This blood is then collected from the cord in a collection bag via a surgical needle.

Though the amount of blood may seem insignificant, it is rich in a kind of highly valuable stem cells that have the potential to form the immune system and blood. These cells are preserved, extracted, and isolated for their probable use in the future in treating various diseases.

The main function of blood is to provide oxygen and various nutrients to different parts of the body. Cord blood also serves the main function, although it is also the provider of life-sustaining substances to the baby. One notable difference between the blood of a mother and that of cord blood is that the latter is rich in hematopoietic stem cells. Moreover, in the banking of cord blood, it is these cells that are isolated and preserved.

More than twenty-five years have passed since its first use. Some of the conditions it has helped in the treatment of are as follows:

  • Anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Inherited metabolic disorders
  • Lymphomas

Clinical trials are also in progress to research its use in treating various advanced conditions too.

What is Cord Tissue?

Cord tissue refers to the insulating material, also called Wharton’s jelly, found around the umbilical cord’s vessels. During the baby’s delivery, a part of the umbilical cord, usually 4 inches in length, is cut and saved. It looks like a clear jelly and comprises fats, stem cells, and white cells.

It comprises white cells, fats, and stem cells such as epithelial and endothelial stem cells. This is also rich in other kinds of stem cells called mesenchymal stem cells that form sensory organs, bone, circulatory tissues, cartilage, etc. in a person. They have a unique property of dividing into various types of cells because of which they are preserved for use in the future.

The use of the stem cells obtained from cord tissues is under clinical trials. However, the results so far have been very good. It hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA for the treatment of diseases. At present, they are used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disease, lung cancer, lupus, autism, Type 1 diabetes, sports injuries, etc.

Additionally, even these stem cells can be banked for future use. Compared to cord blood, banking of cord tissue started late. This can also help the immediate family members of the baby.

Main Differences Between Cord Blood and Cord Tissue

  1. Cord blood contains platelets, and plasma while cord tissue does not.
  2. Stem cells found in cord blood are called hematopoietic stem cells while those in cord tissue are called mesenchymal stem cells. Moreover, the ones found in cord blood were discovered much earlier than those in the cord tissue.
  3. Cord blood aids in the treatment of over 80 medical conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, etc. Cord tissue, on the other hand, helps in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.
  4. Banking of cord blood started over 25 years ago while that of cord tissue started much recently.
  5. Cord blood has received FDA approval for treatment in various diseases while cord tissue has not.

Conclusion

Thus, cord tissue and cord blood are different from each other in many aspects especially in terms of the stem cells found. Both kinds of stem cells are beneficial in treating different kinds of conditions. Although cord tissue’s use is still under trial, the results show high potential.

Hence, it is advisory to have both of them banked for future use. This will benefit both the child and immediate family members. During the collection of one, the other can also be easily collected.

References

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