Storing your children’s umbilical stem cells in private banks for autologous use is a growing trend. But is it an evil marketing ploy, a useless precaution, or a winning strategy? The debate rages on, but perhaps a report in Newsweek could shift the balance in favor of this practice.
When he was 9 months old, Dallas Hextall was diagnosed with cerebral paralysis, a serious neural disorder caused by oxygen deprivation in the uterus or at birth. His parents consulted many neurologists, but according to them, he boy’s chances for a recovery were almost non-existant.
About 9 months later, when given the chance to enter Dallas into a Duke University clinical experiment on autologous stem cell transplants (stem cells removed and stored for later use by the same donor) the couple grabbed ahold of the opportunity. When Dallas was born, the blood from his umbilical cord was removed and stored in a private bank. A week after the trasplant, Dallas suddenly began to speak, calling for his mother, and today he is 2 years old and can walk on his own and do things that are considered unimaginable for a child with cerebral paralysis.
An isolated case? A coincidence? The debate is ongoing in the USA, where Dallas’ case drew attention in academic circles. Scientifically, the autologous conservation of umbilical cord stem cells, is a position that seems growingly arbitrary, while there are still many questions about the private storage of biological material.