Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells (UCBSC)
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Umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells are hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) that are recovered from the blood of the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Umbilical cord blood is rich in cells that express the CD34 molecule, a surface protein that identifies cells as stem cells. Prior to the discovery of UCB stem cells, it was standard procedure to discard the umbilical cord and placenta; now much effort is devoted to raising public awareness and to encouraging people to store or donate cord blood. The importance of these cells lies in potential clinical treatments of blood-borne diseases, as well as the possibility of restoring cells of other lineages, such as cardiac and neural cells. These possible uses have given rise to cord blood stem cell banking, both private and public, where cells can be frozen and stored for later use.