accord with Hrithik?

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Seems that umbilical cord blood banking in India received some starry recognition recently. There’s also a rather informative general discussion about it on Slashdot.

I haven’t made up my mind about it yet, but I am pretty sure it’s all a waste of money for the following reasons:

  • It smells like a scam … just like ULIPs, endowments, child plans, etc:
    • “Do it for the kids!”
    • “You need it. We know better.”
  • Nobody really knows whether and how long cord cells can remain viable in cryogenic storage.
  • Recent research indicates that it will soon be practical to reprogram somatic cells to do what you need … basically researches have managed to use cells from skin, teeth, bone marrow in rather interesting regeneration procedures, like reconstructing a windpipe using stem cells from the bone marrow.
  • The cord cells have the same genetic defects as the child, so they can’t be used to treat leukemia etc.

Given all this, it makes quite a lot of sense to donate those cord cells, either to a public bank, or to stem cell research, rather than spending money on storing them. In the long term, it seems the preserved cord cells will be mostly unnecessary. But I don’t think either of these alternatives are very interesting in India yet!

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