Longevity For The Kids

by Malc on December 8, 2008

Stem Cells Will Boost Children’s Longevity

Stem cells hold such promise for longevity because they can replicate many body tissues – not just one, as is the case with ordinary cells. In other words, you can use stem cells potentially to grow an organ, such as a liver; or part of a lost limb. Early research has shown great promise in this respect.

Argument Abounds

The use of stem cells is contentious, however, because the ones which can differentiate into the most different types of tissue – and so the most useful stem cells – are found in embryos. The idea of ‘harvesting’ these cells from, for example, aborted foetus’s which are otherwise discarded or destroyed, is like a red rag to a bull for many people.

However, less powerful stem cells are available from other sources, for example our own bone marrow. They are not quite as useful, because they will not differentiate into as many different types of tissue. These can still be valuable for longevity purposes.

Umbilical-Cord A Good Solution

To calm the naysayers, and benefit those who want to, a new approach to stem cells has emerged: collect and freeze the stem-cell-rich umbilical cord blood when a baby is born, and save it for when they need it.

This is a longevity approach which is freely available and relatively cheap to store. And it could make the difference between life and death.

A number of companies in the UK will take the umbilical cord blood and store it for you, including Future Health Technologies

Branson Get In On The Act

Richard Branson, the man behind the Virgin brand has got into this situation from a charitable perspective, through Virgin Health Bank.

The theory is that it is more likely at the present time that you will need stem cells similar to your own rather than exactly the same as your own. This would be if, for example, you wanted to be treated for leukaemia, when your own cells contain the defect which created it. In the future, the cells will be more likely to be used for regenerating organs and lost or damaged body parts.

For this reason, the longevity approach Branson is backing involves donating 80% of each deposit to a National Health Service (NHS) bank. Here, it will be freely available to anyone who needs it.

The NHS is currently banking 1200 samples a year in this way.

To have umbilical blood through one of the mentioned private companies costs around £1500 for 20 years.

This could be a bargain if you – or your child – really needs it.


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