Further information about stem cells and what they can do

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Stem cells are unique cells because they have the ability to generate new cells of almost any kind.

Stem cells start off as unspecialised cells but given the right chemical and genetic signals can divide to form more specialised cells of different size, shape and function, eventually giving rise to highly specialised cells.

These can then serve as a repair and maintenance system for other body, blood and immune system cells by multiplying and transforming in to bone, blood, tissue and organ cells when they are required to. At Smart Cells we store stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood and tissue. These potent cells can find their way to injured cells and tissue in the body and begin to help to repair, or replace them.

What are cord blood stem cells used for?


A cord blood stem cell transplant can be used to replace diseased cells with healthy new cells, and rebuild an individual’s blood and immune system. More recently, cord blood stem cells have been shown to be able to form other tissues in the body such as nerve and bone cells.


Cord blood stem cells have considerable potential in regenerative medicine. Research has shown that these cells are capable of developing into a range of cell types such as nerve, bone, skin, heart and liver cells to name a few. More recently they have also been shown to have the ability to stimulate the body’s own repair systems.


These exciting developments have already translated into early clinical treatment of ischaemic heart disease and some neurological conditions. The future of regenerative medicine holds much promise and cord blood is likely to play a major part in this advancement in our ability to treat human disease.

Viable CD34+:

Read more about cord blood stem cells, the way we count them and why numbers are important:

How does it work at Smart Cells?

There can be many questions when looking to bank umbilical cord blood. We prepared a short video to help introduce you to the service.

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Why store my baby’s cord blood stem cells?

Stem cell therapy holds great promise for treating and perhaps one day curing many diseases. For those who are already suffering from a disease that stem cells can treat, storing stem cells may have a personal importance and relevance.

For others, it is likely that at some point in their life, they or a loved one will be affected by a disease that stem cells can treat.


Storing your baby’s stem cells at the time of birth is a once in a lifetime opportunity to capture a valuable resource that could be used in the treatment of serious illness or disease.


In the past the main source of stem cells came from bone marrow. Today however, we’ve found through intensive research that umbilical cord blood and tissue are a rich source of particularly potent stem cells.


The first successful stem cell transplant using stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood was in 1988. The patient was a little boy suffering from a serious blood disorder called Fanconi’s Anaemia, and the cord blood was obtained from his new born sister.


The potential for stem cells to replace damaged cells and tissue is an exciting one. There are over 80 diseases for which transplants of blood-forming stem cells are considered a standard treatment option.


It is well accepted that there are over 80 diseases for which transplants of blood-forming stem cells (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplants (HSCT) are a standard treatment. Follow these links to see more information:

For more innovative stem cell based treatments that have not been adopted as standard therapies, patients may be treated as part of clinical trials. ClinicalTrials.gov has a database listing such trials internationally.

YouGov Survey

A recent YouGov survey found that almost 8 in 10 parents felt more should be done to educate them about stem cell storage

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Facts and figures

Over the years we have seen that stem cell transplantation has become an established procedure and the number of transplants being carried out year on year show a continued increase.


Worldwide more than 50,000 haematopoietic stem cell transplants take place per year.


Of these, 4,000 are cord blood transplants per year.


Fighting disease and illness

Over 35,000 cord blood transplants have taken place around the world and have been used in the treatment of:

(*Innovative early clinical trials)


Chronic Granulomatous Disease
Hystiocytic Disorders
Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
Wiskott- Aldrich Syndrome

What are stem cells?


Aplastic Anaemia
Beta Thalassemia
Diamond-Blackfan Anaemia
Fanconi’s Anaemia
Sickle Cell Disease


Traumatic Brain Injury
Cerebral Palsy
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
HSV Encephalitis & NMDA Receptor
Antibody Encephalitis


Acute Leukaemia
Chronic Leukaemia
High-Risk Solid Tumors
Hodgkin & Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Myelodysplastic Syndromes


Krabbe Disease
Hurler Syndrome
Metachromatic Leukodystrophy
Sanfilippo Syndrome
Hunter Syndrome


Use of privately banked autologous umbilical cord blood to treat brain injuries in paediatric patients. A. Smith, J. Sun, J. Allison, M. Mimbrero-Ramirez, K. Hussain,J. Kurtzberg. Bone Marrow Transplantation, Volume 51, Issue S1 (2016), p S568. Follow the link to see more information:

More than 35,000 unrelated CB units have been distributed worldwide by public banks for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
Armitage S (2016) Cord Blood Banking Standards: Autologous Versus Altruistic. Front. Med. 2:94. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2015.00094

How do stem cells work?

Liz Bonnin investigates new stem-cell research that could change the face of organ transplant surgery. Absorbing clip from series 5 of BBC 1 series Bang Goes the Theory

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