In recent years parents have started banking the blood from the umbilical cords of their children. Cord blood contains stem cells that are useful in treating cancer, especially some forms of leukemia. Bone marrow transplants are often used for leukemia, but cord blood is more effective. It contains hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are the immature blood-forming cells and are also found bone marrow, but not in the same amounts and condition as in the cord. Hematopoietic stem cells can differentiate or change into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, and this is how they fight disease
New research is being conducted on how cord blood cells could help repair the brain after disease or injury. It appears they are able to breach the blood-brain barrier and get directly to damaged brain tissue, signaling it to repair. Newborn stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties, and slowing the swelling that happens in in traumatic brain injuries is key to preventing neural damage.