Preventing Heart Failure: Are Umbilical Cords the Answer?

Cord blood from umbilical cords can be beneficial to patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell anemia, and are even used to rebuild the immune system after chemotherapy, per NIH. Now, a new study found that use of stem cell therapy for heart failure could also potentially improve the lives of people living with the disease.

According to the CDC, nearly 6 million Americans are living with heart failure – a condition where the heart’s muscles weaken and can no longer pump blood adequately throughout the body. Sadly, statistics show that the prognosis for those with heart failure is often grim, with more than half of heart failure patients expected to die within the first 5 years after the diagnosis.

Benefits of Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cells are cells that can transform into any kind of cell, and can be found in developing embryos, the umbilical cord of a newborn baby and in some adult tissues such as bone marrow.

These specialized cells are already used to treat dozens of diseases and recent research has pointed to the cells being used in possible treatment for conditions including cerebral palsy, hearing loss and diabetes.

According to NIH, because stem cells can change into specific cell types, they offer the possibility of renewable cells and tissues to treat conditions including spinal cord injury, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Stem cells are also used in bone marrow transplants, to replace cells damaged by chemotherapy or disease or as a way for the donor’s immune system to fight some types of cancer and blood-related diseases, such as leukemia.

Now, researchers may have found another purpose for these valuable cells, suggesting that stem cell therapy for heart failure may be a step in treating the often-deadly condition.

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