Till date women have been discarding menstrual
blood as an unwanted and unsanitary waste. However, a new research has found
that menstrual blood is a rich source of stem cells that have the ability
to multiply and differentiate into any kind of cells.
Earlier, blood from umbilical cord was regarded
as the ultimate reserve for stem cells. Only those who have given birth at
anytime of their life were able to preserve the stem cells as they were
obtained from umbilical cord. But researchers have now discovered and successfully harvested stem cells from menstrual blood making it possible for
all the women including those who have never given birth to preserve stem cells
. The discovery of stem cells in the menstrual blood has
given a new meaning to menstruation for women who earlier considered
menstruation as nothing but a painful and necessary evil.
Stem cells have the unique quality of
differentiating into any type of cell. As these cells are immunologically
immature in nature, they are able to contribute successfully in the cell
survival after a transplant. Researchers have harvested stem cells from
menstrual blood under laboratory conditions and the harvested cells were
successfully differentiated into nerve cells in vitro
under lab culture
conditions that were controlled. When the differentiated cells were infused
into an animal model of stroke, these cultured stem cells reduced behavioral
impairments in the stroke model.
It is now
established that endometrial wall of the uterus has unique quality of
regeneration. There is a thick growth of blood cells which are dispelled every
month and the uterus prepares a new endometrial lining and prepares itself for
pregnancy. The shed blood contains varied cells some of which have regenerative
properties. Researchers tried to find out the practicality and feasibility of collecting
menstrual blood in order to harvest the stem cells. They performed several
types of analysis of the shed blood and found that these cells can not only be
harvested but they also differentiated into specific cells like cartilage,
neural tissue or adipose tissue. When menstrual stem cells were induced to the
adipogenic lineage, chondrogenic or osteogenic lineage, they displayed
histological characteristics such as the presence of fat vacuoles in adipocytes
or calcium deposits for bone.
The Menstrual stem
cells (MeSC's) have a great importance for clinical translation of regenerative
therapies. The studies demonstrate that these are a unique population of cells
that can be safely isolated and can provide us with an expandable source of
stem cells from women until they reach menopause. Considering their
relevance and importance in treatment of rare diseases including certain neuro
disorders, it becomes crucial for women to preserve their menstrual blood in
the Menstrual Blood Bank.
Banking enables women to store their menstrual blood under required conditions
and preserve it for future.
These banks charge
minimal annual fee for storage and preservation and allows you to have lifelong
benefits from them. Although Menstrual Blood banking is still new and lot of
research is still going on menstrual blood, if its benefits are utilized, it
can prove to be very beneficial for all women who want to give themselves the
gift of good health. The process for collection of menstrual blood is simple; like
tampon, a silicone cup is inserted in the vagina on the day of heaviest flow.
The cup needs to be placed inside the vagina for at least three hours so as to
collect approximately 20 milliliters of blood. This is then poured in the
collection kit and is sent back to the menstrual blood bank laboratory where it
is processed, frozen and stored. What makes this method user friendly is that
it is completely painless and non invasive. Also, any woman who wants to
preserve stem cells for future can do so without having to wait for delivery of
Banking has a wide scope as the need for regenerative therapies incorporating
cells that can engraft and differentiate is vast. Though Menstrual Stem Cell
technology is yet to be utilized in human treatments and therapies, the
research has established the beneficial properties of these cells and their
potential use in treatment of several medical conditions like atherosclerosis,
diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson disease and many more. Alongside,
menstrual blood can overcome the problem of immune rejection during the
transplant, allowing the female patients to use their own stem cells for the
treatment. Thus, it can be said that Menstrual Blood Banking has a vast scope
in future and is the next big thing in the medical world.
Menstrual Blood Stromal Stem Cells: Isolation, Characterization, and
Differentiation by Amit N. Patel, Eulsoon Park, Michael Kuzman, Federico
Benetti, Francisco J. Silva, and Julie G. Allickson.