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英上万父母为孩子储存脐带血 但功效存疑
Thousands of parents pay to store their children's umbilical cord blood

[ 2011-11-15 08:46]     字号 [] [] []  
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英上万父母为孩子储存脐带血 但功效存疑

Future proofed: Alex Silver and daughter Scarlett. She has banked her daughter's umbilical cord blood in case of any future medical emergencies

Today there are about ten businesses in the UK offering to freeze and store cord blood and industry insiders estimate that up to 100,000 parents have chosen to do so in the UK. The global stem-cell market is forecast to treble to a staggering £40 billion by 2015.

Cord blood contains embryonic stem cells. They can be made into more specialised cells and can reproduce copies of themselves almost indefinitely. There is currently research into a host of applications – from growing new organs to curing paraplegia. In theory, stem cells treat disease by replacing damaged or diseased cells. They are used in bone-marrow transplants to treat leukaemia – but in these cases, donor blood taken in the usual way is used to harvest the stem cells.

To bank cord stem cells, the cord blood is extracted minutes after the birth of the baby and rushed by courier to be processed. Any cells that could be of future value are frozen at minus 180C and can then be stored for 25 years.

There are no published examples of a child’s own cord blood being used to cure them of leukaemia – one of the most common childhood diseases mentioned by the banks in their sales pitches. There are two cases of successful sibling transplants for children with the hereditary condition thalassemia, where the body makes an abnormal form of haemoglobin – the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. These were carried out in Singapore and Germany.

Lavish promises of future treatments tend to be based on preliminary clinical trials – and should a child fall ill today, in many cases the technology doesn’t exist to actually use the harvested stem cells. In fact, some experts believe that reintroducing banked cord blood into a child could increase the chance of relapse – as disease-causing cells that existed from birth would be stored alongside useful stem cells.

‘Parents are worried that by not storing cord blood, they aren’t giving their child the best possible chance for future health,’ says leading consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician Mr Dickinson Cowan, who admits that when he first came across private banking, he thought it was a good idea. ‘I’d never recommend it now,’ he says.

(Read by Emily Cheng. Emily Cheng is a journalist at the China Daily Website.)











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(中国日报英语点津 陈丹妮 编辑:Julie)


cord blood: 脐带血

treble: 变成三倍

staggering: 巨大的;难以相信的

embryonic: 胎儿的

stem cell: 干细胞

a host of: 众多,大量

paraplegia: 截瘫,下身麻痹

leukaemia: 白血病

courier: 专递员,快递员

pitch: 推销

thalassemia: 地中海贫血

haemoglobin: 血红蛋白

relapse: 旧病复发

gynaecologist: 妇科医生

obstetrician: 产科医师

private banking: 自体库,是相对于脐带血库的公共库而言的。公共库存储的是产妇自愿无偿捐赠的脐带血,自体库存储的是产妇自愿为个人或家庭定向保存的脐带血。