It seems that as medicine advances each year, we keep going back to basic fundamentals — the human cell. After all, we all evolved into adult humans from a single cell…and look at us now.

Recently, several news stories have focused on the ability to modify human cells. The first had to do with how scientists at The National Cancer Institute were able to genetically modify human immune cells from patients suffering from melanoma, a severe form of skin cancer. In at least two of the patients, the modified cells were able to control the disease.

The other story came from The Mary Crowley Medical Research Center at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. It seems that they are using a new cancer-detecting machine called CellSearch. This device is able to identify a single cancerous cell in a small vial of blood obtained from a patient. This FDA-approved machine is being utilized to monitor patients already diagnosed with breast cancer.

It is also being studied for other types of cancers, such as prostate, lung, and melanoma. But can you imagine if one day this type of technology could be used to screen for all cancer cells?

It seems that as we learn more and more from our cells, we will ultimately be able to find better cures for some of our current problems. For that reason, I continue to be very excited about the potential of umbilical cord blood banking.

Ten years ago — even while only a few scientific papers written about the potential of human stem cells existed — I decided to store my son's umbilical cord blood. My excitement about the potential future of this technology has continued to grow since the birth of our first child. Now, thousands of families have opted to bank their children's umbilical cord blood, and what was 'Stak Trek' Science then, seems like a routine delivery procedure during childbirth today.

Many parents still ask me if a see a future in this technology, and my answer is always the same. The history of medical science tells us the future will go where no man has gone before.

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