A newborn baby can save another child's life -- if its mother is willing to donate the blood from its umbilical cord to a new umbilical-cord blood bank.
Canada's first cord-blood bank, expected to be approved by provincial governments in June, wants 10,000 new mothers to donate their babies' stem-cell rich blood.
Once thrown away as medical waste, cord blood is now used to fight leukemia, inherited blood disorders and even diabetes. The stem cells in healthy cord blood help regenerate blood cells and rebuild immune systems. The national bank will also link up with donor registries worldwide in a reciprocity agreement.
Umbilical-cord blood is already being used in medical treatment, but the samples are obtained internationally. Canada is one of the few industrialized countries without its own cord blood bank.
(Canwest News Service)