Some patients, especially children and smaller adults, with certain diseases including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia, can be injected with the cells found in cord blood to help boost their body's production of new, healthy cells, according to WebMD. The cells found in cord blood can also help people recover from certain cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Umbilical cord blood is rich in hematopoietic progenitor stem cells, which are cells that can reproduce themselves and turn into almost any type of cell, explains WebMD. Cord blood banking is a procedure that involves taking blood from a neonate's umbilical cord at birth and storing it for a fee in a blood bank. Parents who decide to bank their neonate's cord blood usually do so because of its potential to treat their child if he ever becomes ill with certain diseases.
While cord blood contains similar stems cells as those found in bone marrow, extracting these cells from the cord blood has several potential advantages, states WebMD. First, taking cord blood is easy and painless, while extracting bone marrow is a complicated process. In addition, the body may be less likely to reject cord blood cells than cells found in adult bone marrow.