Liza Ackermann, a mother, is set to make medical history today when stem cells are collected from her new-born baby.
She is due to give birth to her second child at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine by Caesarean section today.
The stem cells will be harvested from the baby’s umbilical cord and stored to ward off future illness.
Liza and her husband, Brahm, a doctor, are from South Africa but have lived in Coleraine for three years.
They said that harvesting stem cells at this stage could save the child’s life in the future.
“Stem cells are like the master cells of the body,” Dr Ackermann explained.
“Therefore, they can be used for people who have heart problems.
They could also be used to treat cancer, especially leukaemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.”
The doctor said that stem cells have the ability to transform themselves into any tissue in the human body and therefore can be used to treat serious illnesses.
Liza said: “The timing is perfect.
“Only a few years ago, this would not have been possible, but now we have a unique opportunity to safeguard our child’s future health.”
Storing one’s own stem cells is not a new idea.
What is groundbreaking is the concept of storing stem cells in a perfectly healthy baby in case he or she ever develops illnesses later in life.
Source: Belfast Telegraph [www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=659262]