Decisions, Decisions … Cord Blood Banking and the University of Florida Study

I posted a while back about my struggles with the decision about whether to bank my son’s cord blood. My doctor did give me the information he promised, and I have been researching like crazy.

During my research, I stumbled upon one small study that was performed at the University of Florida in 2007. You can read about the study here.

In the study, seven recently diagnosed children between the ages of two and seven were infused with their own cord blood and then their outcomes were compared with 13 children with similar ages and disease durations who received traditional treatment.

After six months, the children who received the transfusions had lower average A1Cs (7% compared to 8.04% in the control group), and they required significantly less insulin per kilogram of body weight. They also had about the same C-peptide levels after the six months as they did at the beginning of the study. This indicates that their beta cells might be living longer and continuing to produce insulin. However, the study did not indicate how their C-peptide levels compared to the levels in the control group.

The conclusion from the study was that cord blood infusion might be useful in newly diagnosed children because it can slow down the progression of the disease, which can lead to tighter control and reduce or prevent the resulting complications.

Of course, this conclusion was determined after just six months. Who knows how these children are doing today, nearly three years later? I looked for an update online, but could not find anything. I did hear from the father of a participant in the study on TuDiabetes, who says his son is still in the “honeymoon phase” after three years. He does admit that his son was one of the better performers in the study. You can read this father’s opinion here.

The report goes on to conclude that it is cost-prohibitive to bank the cord blood of all potential type 1 diabetic children. Instead, the goal of the research is to pinpoint what part of the cord blood is providing the benefit. The theory is that the regulatory T cells in the cord blood prompt a type of immune regulation. Surprisingly, the team thinks that the effect has nothing to do with the stem cells and their ability to become beta (insulin producing) cells. Instead, it is about the regulatory T cells, of which cord blood has a rich supply. These cells seem to somehow neutralize the body’s attack on the beta cells.

Nevertheless, all of the big-name organizations, including the JDRF and the American Academy of Pediatrics, do not recommend private cord blood banking at this time. The evidence to support it is simply not there.

I’m still researching, though, and I’ll let you know what I find. My mind tells me that private banking is a big waste of money — it’s a longshot that we would ever use the blood anyway. But my heart tells me that it would be an awful big gamble not to save this valuable resource.

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3 Comments on “Decisions, Decisions … Cord Blood Banking and the University of Florida Study”

  1. Val Says:

    A friend of mine has used banked cord blood for her son who was born with congenital hydrocephalus – it’s not a scientific study, but you might want to go to the “our story” part of fetalhydrocephalus.com for the information on the doctor at Duke who has helped them. Having seen in person the changes it has done with her little boy, if I was expecting now I would definitely consider banking it.

  2. Mom Says:

    What a difficult decision facing the two of you.
    We always want the best for our children.

    Somehow you will come up with the best course of action.

    Love,

    Mom

  3. Lindsey Says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve decided yet, but if you do decide to bank cord blood I wanted to make you and your readers aware of a great resource that helps you choose the right cord blood bank for you and your family – http://www.BankingCordBlood.org. It’s one of the only websites that is independently owned, and thus presents unbiased and factual information to allow users to easily compare cord banks as well has provide a bunch of great info on cord blood banking.


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