The gift of "organ" begins at birth

The blood of the umbilical cord can be removed at the time of birth. One more solution in the treatment of blood cancers.

Blood cancers have their bad reputation of the brutality of their appearance, the absence of particular symptoms and especially, formerly, the severity of the prognosis. Yet it is rather a message of hope that doctors give today, which is not far from the rule in medicine.

A blood cancer comes down, almost always, in the presence of crazy cells in the bloodstream. It is at the level of the bone marrow (and not the spinal cord) that the white blood cells, little soldiers of the fight against aggression, are made. These white blood cells destroy the thousands of microbes that attack us daily, without our being aware of it. When a mother cell, which makes these soldiers, becomes cancerous, it is the entire regiment that bears the mark and is unable to do the job. Worst he attacks his own army!

The treatment (chemotherapy) consists in killing these malignant cells but the medicine is not yet sufficiently precise and often does not only suppress the enemy but also all the healthy cells, making, during the treatment, the patient sensitive to the least of the infections.

The transplant

Bone marrow transplantation, and thus the supply of healthy cells, has greatly improved the prognosis. Subject to finding a compatible donor, either in the family (siblings), or through a global registry of voluntary donors, the transplant of a healthy marrow can pass the critical phase and restart a new life. To give one's bone marrow is as important a gesture as giving one's organs after death. The essential difference is that this donation is made during the lifetime of the donor, and that it has no adverse effect on his health. A blood test is sufficient to be entered in the register. That a patient in the world is compatible with your marrow and the coordinating body will appeal to your generosity to do the sampling, which is done in the hospital and often under general anesthesia. This is not an innocuous decision even if the probability of being called is low. However, it must be taken into account, which slows the momentum of generosity.

As a result, the world is short of donors ...

The specialists have devised another strategy: to use the blood that is contained in the umbilical cord that reads the mother to her baby and that contains high-performance, very primitive mother cells that look astonishingly like the cells in the bone marrow. They only want to continue their production of blood cells, as soon as they are injected into a recipient. The cord taken at the time of delivery, without any consequences for the mother and baby, is kept in public banks in France, with all the ethical and regulatory guarantees, which is not necessarily the case elsewhere. Professor Mohamad Mohty, of the Saint Antoine Hospital in Paris, one of our best specialists in this technique, launches a call: "These cancers were until the arrival of the transplant often incurable; This is no longer the case ! Every effort must be made to encourage donation, including that of cord blood. "

Cord blood donation is painless and safe for the mother and the child. It is derived from the placenta and taken from the umbilical cord, right after the birth of the child.

Once collected, it is analyzed and if it meets the predefined criteria, it becomes a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Each graft is frozen and kept in an authorized bank located near a maternity ward. It is important to specify to patients wishing to make this donation that to allow a better preservation of grafts, this levy can be made only in maternities belonging to the French network of placental blood (RFSP).

No setting aside in case or ...

Contrary to popular belief, the preservation of cord blood for autologous purposes (or for its own child) is, unless derogation, prohibited by law in France. In accordance with the law of bioethics, cord blood donation is based on the intangible principles of consent, free of charge and anonymity.

However, a nuance: if we have increased the number of cord blood banks, France currently has only about 20,000 samples while there are 400,000 worldwide.

Video: The Gift - Jim brickman Lyrics (January 2020).