Could your baby’s stem cells one day help save their skin?
Banking your baby’s precious stem cells at birth could be the best investment you ever make.
This is especially true when it comes to putting an end to their debilitating eczema or painful psoriasis. Studies show that stem cell therapy can treat chronic inflammatory skin problems that affect children.
So how do stem cells help ease skin problems?
Stem cells taken from a newborn’s umbilical cord have been shown to interact with the skin’s immune system. This helps to alleviate the inflammatory reaction, characteristic in so many debilitating skin conditions.
Did you know? Cord blood stem cells contain a greater number of the regulatory T cells – a type of white blood cell – that help keep the immune system in balance.
So let’s look at some of the specific skin conditions that could affect your child and how they could be treated by stem cell therapy.
What is childhood eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, extremely common in babies and children. It’s caused by an abnormality in the regulation of the skin’s immune system due to genetic and environmental factors.
Eczema is caused by an abnormality in the regulation of the skin’s immune system due to genetic and environmental factors.
Did you know? Worldwide, atopic dermatitis or eczema affects between 9%–18% of all infants and young children. And that 70% of eczema cases start in children under five years old.
In mild cases, the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy. In more severe cases there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. It’s common for babies and children to develop eczema on their face (especially the cheeks and chin) but it can appear anywhere on the body.
Did you know? Sometimes the itch gets so bad that children scratch it until it bleeds, making their eczema worse and can often lead to infection. This is known as the ‘itch-scratch cycle.’
How can stem cell therapy help eczema?
Researchers have had success stabilising the immune response using cord blood stem cells to effectively reduce eczema and its symptoms.
In one 2016 clinical trial, 55% of patients who received a high dose of stem cells injected under the skin showed an improvement in their symptoms. There was a 50% reduction in eczema after 12 weeks of treatment.
Knowing how debilitating eczema can be, it makes sense to think about baby stem cell banking as a possible means of treatment for the future.
What is psoriasis?
This immune condition causes new skin cells to be produced much faster than normal. The accumulation of skin cells builds up to form areas of thick, red skin with flaky, silver white patches called scales or plaques.
The accumulation of skin cells builds up to form areas of thick, red skin with flaky, silver white patches called scales or plaques.
These plaques can occur anywhere on the body but are usually found on the knees, elbows, lower back, scalp, nails and behind the ears. The plaques can be flaky and itchy and very painful.
Did you know? Psoriasis is a serious global problem affecting at least 100 million individuals worldwide, with 2.8% of the UAE’s population living with the condition.
How can stem cell therapy help psoriasis?
Researchers are rapidly unlocking the potential of stem cells to treat psoriasis. Studies are looking at how they can help:
- Flood to the site of the psoriasis skin plaques to help heal and repair
- Stabilise any abnormal immune response
- Effect how cells communicate to each other to induce change
The potential is immense for treating and even curing psoriasis. A study published in 2016 followed the treatment of a girl who’d been suffering from severe psoriasis since she was eight years old. She was cured of psoriasis thanks to infusions of umbilical cord blood stem cells when she was in her twenties. She has had no symptoms of relapse for five years.
All the more reason perhaps to consider baby stem cell banking.
Scars and burns
As soon as your child can move they will want to explore their surroundings. Sometimes this can put them in danger. They will instinctively want to reach out and touch things which can land them in trouble especially when it comes to hot objects or substances. Such a move can result in burns and an injury that not only can cause intense pain but also significant scarring and or disability.
Did you know? 75% of burns in young children are from hot liquid, hot tap water or steam.
How can stem cell therapy help scars or burns?
The good news is that the use of stem cells can be hugely beneficial in the treatment of burns. A 2012 clinical review revealed that stem cell therapy showed great effectiveness in enhancing the healing of burn wounds and facilitating skin regeneration.
The good news is that the use of stem cells can be hugely beneficial in the treatment of burns.
The capability of stem cells to self-renew boosts the skin’s natural healing process to fully repair and restore the skin’s original structure and functionality. Also their ability to regulate an immune and inflammatory response promotes healing and helps minimise scarring.
The stem cells can be applied topically, injected directly or intravenously to the affected area of the skin.
Another method being developed in the US, is a ‘gun’ that sprays the cells directly onto the injury. It produces minimal scarring compared with a more traditional skin graft. This is where healthy skin is removed from an unaffected area of the body and used to cover lost or damaged skin. It also allows a new layer of healthy skin to regrow in as little as four days.
Accidents can and will happen but knowing that your baby’s stem cells are stored and ready to help provides welcome reassurance.
Your child’s future
It’s clear that stem cell therapy shows immense potential when it comes to treating and even curing many debilitating skin conditions. As a parent, any steps you can take when they’re born, such as banking their stem cells to safeguard their future, has to be worth considering.
Smart Cells is the UK’s first private cord blood storage company, helping parents from across the world take the pioneering decision to store the stem cells of their babies for greater security of health. For more information on umbilical cord blood banking or to organise a consultation, please email us on UAE@smartcells.com, or click here.
About the author: Shamshad Ahmed, CEO and Founder of Smart Cells International.
Shamshad Ahmed is CEO and Founder of Smart Cells International Ltd. Opening in 2000, Smart Cells became the UK’s first private cord blood company – its goal to give parents more access to potentially life-saving treatment for their families. It is one of the UK’s largest private banks, operating across the globe and storing over 50,000 cord blood samples from people in over 70 countries. Shamshad started his career in finance and foreign exchange at Citibank before moving over to the world of clinical trials. He holds a BA from Nottingham Trent University, and he has been a member of the Young President’s Organization since 2008 – having served on the board for a number of those years.