If you are a bio student and you are studying reproduction then you will definitely interact with the term placenta, that help women to connect her fetus at the time of her pregnancy
What is Placenta
Placenta is a highly specialized organ formed in the female body during maternity phase.
Placenta develops inside the uterus during the birth of baby. It is the interconnecting link between the developing fetus and the uterine wall.
In fact, the umbilical cord of the infant develops from placenta itself. Hence, it has been rightly described as mother’s first connection to baby. Placenta is also known as overbirth.
Importance of Placenta
Before delivery, placenta performs two key roles to ensure proper health of infant at the prenatal phase.
- It provides the embryo with oxygen and essential nutrients like vitamins.
- It removes any wastes from blood and protects the baby from bacteria.
As soon as the baby is delivered, placenta detaches from uterine walls. It used to be discarded earlier, but recently its potential value for stem cell transplantation has been acknowledged.
Placenta derived blood is a rich source of immature stem cells, which could be transplanted to another body requiring healing from injury or affected with a metabolic disorder. The first ever human transplant with the help of placenta derived blood was conducted in March 2008.
Placenta is found to be the richest known source of stem cells, which have significant therapeutic value in transplantation operations. Placental tissue consists of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s), which play significant role in regenerative medicinal therapy.
According to standardized results, cryopreservation of placenta can help in preserving the viability of ten times more stem cells, than other sources like bone marrow or fat.
How Placenta Influence in Stem Cell Transplantation
Placenta has a high concentration of CD34+ cells, which directly influence key parameters in stem cell transplantation like: –
- Rate of stem cell engraftment: It refers to the rate at which stem cells are absorbed in the bloodstream and start performing their regenerative functions.
- Treatment related ethics: Since the process utilizes medical waste which would otherwise have been discarded, the therapy is morally correct and environment friendly.
Placenta Banking– Definition and Procedure
The term placental banking refers to collection, testing, storage, manipulation and preservation of placental blood and tissue, to be used for stem cell transplantation.
Some of the leading names in the family bank sector who have specialized in placenta banking are Lifebank, USA and Lifecell, India.
Placenta is a reproductive organ inside the female body and it develops inside the uterus during the birth of baby. As soon as the baby is delivered, placenta detaches from uterine walls.
It used to be discarded earlier, but recently its potential value for stem cell transplantation has been realized. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells, with the potency to convert into different types cells with specialized functions. Hence these can be used for performing healing mechanisms such as repairing blood vessels, tissues and organs.
Placental blood refers to the blood that remains within the blood vessels of placenta, after the birth of the baby. Placental blood is of a unique quality, as it is the richest known source of the stem cells, which are in the immature stages of development.
The immature stem cells, upon transplantation inside the host’s body are less likely to trigger resistance symptoms like graft versus host disease (GVHD). Hence they are more readily engrafted during transplantation operations, as compared to other matured stem cells as obtained from marrow harvest.
Placental blood contains higher concentration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’ s), as compared to cord blood. These cells have the ability to transform into miscellaneous cell types with specialized functions in the body. Hence theses are currently and intensively being researched, for multiple applications in the field of regenerative medicine.
Placental blood is carefully examined to determine its viability for stem cell therapy and research purpose. The sample must be free from any kind of infection. Test results are notified to the parents of the donor baby.
This helps the parents take the best decisions as to whether they should opt for placenta banking, whether they should secure it in family bank or donate it to a public bank, the type of storage plan they must choose etc.
Procedures of Placenta Banking
- Sample collection and transportation: Stem cell isolation from placenta derived blood is done with the aid of a pump.Sample placental blood is collected after donor registration. Placenta is resent to the laboratory for processing and recovery of stem cell units.
In case the stem cell bank is private, the donor agrees to pay the due amount yearly. No fee is charged for donations made to a public bank. The samples are carefully transported to the laboratories for analysis and preservation.
- Isolation and analysis: From sample of placental blood, stem cells are isolated first. This is followed by chemical analysis where the cells are inspected to ensure their purity. Moreover chemical analysis results must assure that the isolated stem cells have the potential for treatment of conditions of illness.
- Processing and storage (Cryopreservation): Along with umbilical cord blood units, placental blood units are deprived of their erythrocytes (RBC’s) by a process known as red blood cell depletion.
Next, plasma is removed with the help of process called volume reduction. The selected stem cells are preserved by keeping them at sub-zero temperatures in liquid Nitrogen.
This technique known as cryogenic preservation enhances shelf life of stem cells by inhibiting any microbial activity and maintaining ideal sterile conditions. The isolated stem cells are cryogenically preserved in a vapor phase nitrogen tank at very low temperatures of the order of 83 K.
- Retrieval for transplantation: Stem cells are retrieved from the public or private banks to be used for implantation in the body of patient.
While public banks are open to all patients and research purposes, the private or family stem cell banks provide stem cells if requested by that particular family. It is mandatory that stem cells are retrieved for transplantation or research within their shelf life, else their potential characteristics will probably be lost.
Benefits of Placenta Banking
- Placenta banking or banking of placenta derived blood provides the opportunity of storing or preserving significantly, increased numbers of baby’s stem cells.
- With increase in the no. of transplanted stem cells, the success rates of stem cell transplantation are higher.
- The process of collection of placenta derived cord blood is non-invasive, swift, easy and painless.
- Stem cells obtained from placenta could be stored immediately after the baby is delivered.
- Researches are being conducted in the field of utilizing the healing properties of stem cells for curing immunity related disorders, blood disorders and orthopedic issues like spinal cord injury.
- Placenta derived blood is used for stem cell therapy to cure complicated ailments such as: –
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF): It refers to scarring of lungs. Though no cause for IPF has been detected so far, it is sometimes attributed to genetic factors.
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy: It refers to the condition arising out of insufficient oxygen flow to brain at birth.
- Mesenchymal cells which are present in high concentration in Placental blood have been found to have potential abilities for the treatment of the following ailments: –
- Crohn’s disease: It is an inflammatory disease which affects the lining of digestive system.
- Diabetes 1 and 2: Diabetes 1(juvenile diabetes) occurs in the body due to the inadequate secretion of insulin by the pancreas. Diabetes 2 is a result of improper functioning of insulin.
- Cardiac diseases: It refers to the heart related ailments and circulatory diseases.
- Amylotropic lateral scerosis: It is a neurological disease that affects the nerve cells which control the voluntary muscles.
- Diabetic foot ulcer: It refers to an open sore which develops on the foot of the infected person. It is quite infectious and needs to be removed from the body as quickly as possible.
Dangers of Placenta Banking
- The probability that the child would be able to use his or her own placenta derived cord blood is very little i.e. 1:400 to 1:2,00,000.
- Cord blood collection units might actually contain very low dosages of stem cells, which might not suffice for transplantation requirements. In fact, in most of the cases, concentration of stem cells have been actually found to be in inadequate quantities.
- The standards of quality control are quite relevant with respect to their effectiveness during stem cell transplantation. If not properly monitored, stored cells shall lose their viability.
- If the infant or mother has iron deficiency, such abnormality will continue to exist in the cord blood sample as well.
Cost of Placenta Banking in India
Lifecell, India is a stem cell bank which provides the options of storage of cord blood derived placenta. Prices vary for placental derived blood (Babycord) or placenta derived blood and cord tissue (Babycord duo), collected together.
Payment options are available on annual basis or in the form of prepaid storage plans for a fixed period say 20-25 years. Recently it has reduced the charge to 19,990 with an added annual fee of Rs. 3500.
|Plan type||Term||Price (Babycord)||Price (Babycord duo)|
|Prepaid storage||25 years||2700/yr||3300/yr|
Storage plans also with the no. of storage sites, whether single or dual.
|Annual storage plan||Single site (in Rs.)||Dual site (in Rs.)|
|Single site (Rs.)||Dual Site (in Rs.)|
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