Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cord Blood Bank reaches Milestone in Lives Saved


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Michigan Blood's Cord Blood Bank in Grand Rapids has reached a milestone. This month it shipped out its 100th life-saving unit of stem cells.

That unit will be given to a 14-year-old boy who is battling leukemia.

Right now 3,600 cord blood stem cell units are being stored in the lab at Michigan Blood.

The white blood cells can be used to help someone fight a life-threatening disease.

Deeon Wetzel was the first woman in West Michigan to donate her baby's cord blood to the bank.

“No harm to the baby, no harm to the mother. The placenta is actually considered medical waste after the baby is born, so why not,” said Dionne Wetzel of Jenison.

Last Christmas her daughter's cord blood matched a small child in desperate need of a transplant. Wetzel's baby girl, now 12-years-old, saved the life of a complete stranger.

According to the national Marrow Donor Program, 10,000 patients are in need of transplants every year, but only about a half will find a match.

Great Story, Lives being saved everyday with cord blood stem cells.........MrCordBlood

Curing the Future Diseases With Cord Blood


An expectant mother can choose to have a kit provided for her for taking blood samples from the umbilical cord and placenta of her yet to be born child. Because immediately after birth would be the only chance to collect this sample, filled with rich blood � forming stem cells. Stem cells that can also be found in bone marrows which in turn has been proven and used extensively for treating certain types of diseases of the blood through bone marrow transplantation. One of the most interesting and most important things to take note of is the process on how cord blood is obtained by doctors and surgeons. First off, the cord blood can be found and harvested from the blood which is left over in the placenta and in the umbilical cord right after a normal birth of the baby. The method most commonly used would be similar to standard blood collection techniques. The medical technician cannulates the vein of the severed umbilical cord using a needle connected to a blood bag, and the cord blood through the needle into the bag.

Blood collected from the umbilical cord and placenta goes rather through a simple process: prior to her due date, a participating mother would receive a kit for blood sample collection. On her due date, while the infant is being delivered either through normal or cesarean method, the medical doctors and technical staff would immediately collect the blood sample once the umbilical cord is severed, clamped and cannulated. The tube connected to the vein of the umbilical cord is in turn connected to a blood bag. This bag is then properly stored and frozen for immediate delivery to the cord blood bank so as for the sample not to get spoiled.

Cord blood banking is one way of ensuring the retrieved blood cord is being stored properly through state of the art facilities and also assures the donor that they would be able to utilize it in the future should the need arises. One would never know what disease or illness they would encounter, but as long as their child�s cord blood is properly stored, there would be less worrying and more time for important things to think about. There is the saying that goes, �prevention is better than cure� but with cord blood, a potential cure is already taken cared of for future diseases one might have at the earliest stage of life and yes, it can also be used by relatives, and other family members.

Great short article about some of the dynamics that umbilical cord blood banking entails. Many call this service a "biological health insurance policy" because it is a proactive step taken to ensure that you child or any matching family member has these pristine stem cells at their disposal should the future need arise. Cord blood banking was the wisest decision my wife and I made for our two children. Expecting families should do their research and become educated on the benefits of private cord blood banking or public donation if available in their area. You can learn more by visiting our website at www.thecordgroup.com.................MrCordBlood

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


I hope the holiday season is one of great rejoicing and celebrating with our family and friends. I look forward to a wonderful 2012 for everyone!!.................MrCordBlood

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2 Little Boys Saved by Umbilical Cord Blood


SAN FRANCISCO - An extremely rare and often fatal disease Malignant Infantile Osteopetrosis was the basis of an unlikely friendship that formed between the Shaffers from Landsdowne, Pennsylvania and the Albornoz's from Ecuador when both of their sons were diagnosed.

The only treatment for the disease is a stem-cell transplant or a bone-marrow transplant.

"Cord blood is a life line for some patients," said Doctor Andy Kolb from Nemours DuPont Hospital.

He treated both children. Mason Shaffer had his life-saving cord blood transplant in 2009. A year later when the Albornoz's contacted Dr. Kolb in an effort to get treatment for their son, Dr. Kolb asked the Shaffers to reach out to the family for support.

"We immediately wanted to be able to help someone else because we had no one else when we were diagnosed," said Marc Shaffer.

When little Joaquin underwent his cord blood transplant in 2010, the Shaffers were there to walk the Albornoz's through the grueling, five-month process, which ultimately was a success.

"We keep in touch with them," said Sebastian Albornoz. "They just give us a big relief because they gave us hope."

If you're pregnant, you can ask your doctor about cord blood donation.

(Copyright © 2011 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

This is probably my favorite part of the article because it is true. "Cord blood is a life line for some patients," said Doctor Andy Kolb from Nemours DuPont Hospital. If you or know someone who's is pregnant, I ask you to share. Every parent deserves the chance to know about this "lifeline!" .................MrCordBlood

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine


This is an absolutely WONDERFUL RESOURCE for those who want to learn more about the stem cell industry.

Baby Blood Saved to Beat Cancer


GAYLE Connors has leukaemia but does not want baby grandson Cooper to fall victim to the same disease.

While she knows the risk is low, she said paying $3000 to store her first grandchild's umbilical cord blood at birth, and the vital stem cells it contains for peace of mind, was nothing.

"My grandfather died of leukaemia, so you just never know," she said. "By the time Cooper is 18 or 19, God forbid if he was ever in a car accident and lost the ability to walk, it's possible stem cells could help him to walk."

Only 1 per cent of newborns have their stem cells stored in Australia each year.

Medical director of stem cell storage firm Cell Care, Associate Professor Mark Kirkland, said this was one of the lowest rates in the world - probably because there was little awareness about stem cell potential.

"In other countries the rate ranges anywhere from two to 10 per cent," he said.

"In Singapore it's 20 per cent."

In SA, umbilical cord blood can only be stored with a private firm because no public bank exists.

This also ensures the stem cells will be kept for personal use only.

Mrs Connors also has a daughter with cerebral palsy, which stem cells could one day play a key role in defeating.

"I had no idea about it before I saw a brochure while with my daughter at her obstetrician's. Now I tell everybody about it because you just don't know what you might need it for."

Umbilical cord blood is the blood left behind in the placenta and umbilical cord after the birth of a baby.

Associate Professor Kirkland said future uses could include spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, brain injury and strokes.

Stem cells are mainly used for autoimmune diseases like Leukaemia - when the body starts attacking its own cells as if they were foreign invaders - but because of their regeneration properties their use in the future could be endless.

"Clinical trial for type one diabetes and cerebral palsy are starting in Australia next year," he said.

But, he said until trials are completed, treatment options could be some years away.

For multiple sclerosis and other disorders would be further away due to the age of the cord blood stored.

"We can't test for another 10 years because the people we've collected the cord blood from are not old enough. We can't prove therapies until the people who've stored cord blood are old enough to get those diseases."

My wife and I saved both our children's umbilical cord blood at birth with the same belief as the Connors, it is an investment into our children's future medical well-being.

Presently over 70+ diseases are being treated using cord blood stem cells with the future applications having limitless possibilities. One of the reasons my wife and I banked both of our children's cord blood was because of the rapid advancement the stem cell industry is seeing and the number of diseases treated in the next 5 or 10 years could be double possibly. Get educated on the value of cord blood banking for your child and for you family. Visit us at www.thecordgroup.com for more......................MrCordBlood

Monday, December 19, 2011

Awesome Facts About Umbilical Cord Blood


A lot of people commonly have questions about the umbilical cord, remaining something that is frequently mentioned in relation to childbirth and birth, it has to be something vitally important in life. Often known as a funis, an umbilical cord is simply a tube seen in placental animals linking unborn animals with the placenta.

After childbirth, the umbilical cord is often cut and it drops away or is removed resulting in a small scar on the stomach of the infant called the umbilicus or generally called the belly button or the navel.

The umbilical cord blood is mostly just plainly called cord blood. This is basically the blood which is located in the placenta and the umbilical cord as soon as the baby arrives and the cord has been cut.

The umbilical cord blood can be a extraordinary source of stem cells, unspecialized body cells which can be used to produce many various blood cells including platelets required to increase blood clotting, red blood cells that carry o2 to the cells within the body and also white blood cells that are important in the fight against diseases and foreign bodies in the body.

Stem cells are considered to be undifferentiated blood cells because they aren’t committed to specified functions yet but they can be modified to a particular developing direction that will develop a specified organ or tissue.

Differentiation is the procedure where the stem cells are changed to targeted cell forms according to the usage of stem cells. Typically, the use of stem cells center around mending existing tissues, restoring aged cells and treating many different types of illnesses and conditions.

Stem cells aren’t the same as other cells within your body in several ways, though the most critical variances which makes them distinct is because they are capable to adapt to the surrounding of the host body and also since the cells are self-renewed. Most of the people generally wonder what exactly do stem cells do within your body and confronted with these two monumental distinctions from other cells in the body, you should know that these cells can be used to address diseases.

Stem cells are often obtained from the placenta and because they are immature, they change and mature in to other sorts of cells within the body. They’ll secrete growth factors which makes them separate and replace withered cells.

Researching informs us these cells may potentially be a option for renewable transferable tissues that could possibly perform a substantial role within the management of such disorders as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, spinal-cord injuries along with other sicknesses.

Many parents are actually taking the umbilical cord blood and saving it in a technique generally known as cord blood banking. Occasionally they keep it for their own use while other people sometimes donate it to a public cord blood bank where it can be made use of for research or for possible medical applications of the stem cells.

GREAT BLOG POST from www.bestpregnancysites.com Thank you so much for sharing.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @MrCordBlood and visit our website at www.thecordgroup.com

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cord Blood Storage Aids Treatment


MORE parents should consider privately storing their child's cord blood, a procedure that costs at least $3000, to boost Australian research into stem cell treatments, a leading researcher says.

The head of research at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Dr Iona Novak, said a lack of privately banked cord blood was a hurdle to Australian research into regenerative treatments. Such clinical trials are already done in the US, where the percentage of parents paying to store cord blood is much higher.

Cord blood, which is extracted from the umbilical cord and placenta after birth, is a rich source of stem cells and could potentially treat a range of diseases and conditions. Some treatments, such as those proposed for cerebral palsy, require the patient's own cord blood.

''We know that, at the moment, there's about 40 children with cerebral palsy with their own blood banked in Australia, which is not that much to do a study with,'' Dr Novak said.

In Australia, cord blood can be stored privately, allowing for the child to be treated autologously - with their own blood. In the public system the pool of cord blood can be used by patients around the world. In NSW public banks have 25,000 units of blood, compared with 18,000 in private banks.

Associate Professor Mark Kirkland, from the private blood bank Cell Care, said the few privately banked samples in Australia meant research into autologous treatments could be made only with overseas collaboration. ''There's been a lot of negativity around the idea of storing your child's own cord blood because these are unproven treatments. But it's a catch-22 - you can't do the trials because you haven't stored your child's blood.''

The government-funded Australian cord blood bank, AusCord, does not provide cord blood for research unless it is unsuitable for clinical use.

But the chairwoman of AusCord, Ngaire Elwood, said it kept a ''very close eye'' on new applications for stem cell treatment.

Dr Elwood said the system was sufficient for uses approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, including transplants for leukaemia patients. ''For the next four years it's felt that we are generally meeting the needs of the Australian population.''

A gift to be shared among mothers

NATALIE LOPEZ donated her daughter Gabriela's cord blood to the public system after learning of the practice by chance at her first prenatal doctor's appointment.

''If anything was going to happen to Gabriela, then I would like to tap into that resource one day,'' said Mrs Lopez, of Beverly Hills.

The 34-year-old gave birth in April at St George Private Hospital, one of the NSW government's four designated collection centres for publicly donated cord blood.

The process was surprisingly difficult, despite being told her cord blood was of unusually high quality, she said. Mrs Lopez had to fill out several forms even while she was in labour.

Then, there was almost no one to collect the cord blood. ''The nurse actually came back after her shift was finished just to collect the blood. It's just so rare that … they get a good amount of blood.''

Whether a family decides to privately bank their baby's cord blood or not, they should ALWAYS donate publicly if the option is available. That donation could be the match needed to treat a young child or adult to give them a better quality of living or better yet, SAVE A PERSON'S LIFE!!! Just like Natalie Lopez said, "if anything was going to happen to Gabriela (her daughter), then I would like to tap into that resource one day." This sentence SPEAKS VOLUMES!!! If you do not decide to store privately and one day need a transplant of stem cells, you would want to tap into that resource as well. Get educated about cord blood banking and please donate if you decide not to privately bank your baby's cord blood. you never know what the future may hold....................MrCordBlood

Thursday, December 15, 2011

U.S. Cord Blood Supply Lacking, GAO Says


WASHINGTON -- The national supply of umbilical cord blood is not growing as fast as it could, in part because of competition from private blood banks and a slowdown in growth in the cord blood market, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In the year after the government created a National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI) in 2005, sales of cord blood rose by nearly 14%, then went up more than 38% the following year.

But sales grew just 0.4% between 2009 and 2010.

In addition, public cord blood banks are facing competition from the growing number of private banks, the GAO report said. Some parents choose to bank their infants' cord blood with a private blood bank so it can be used by a family member if needed, an option not available if they donate to a public cord blood bank.

Although the overall number of umbilical cord blood units available for transplants has grown, more progress is needed, the report writers concluded.

There are nearly 135,000 units of cord blood available in the NCBI, and in 2010 about 1,200 patients received cord blood transplants from units identified in the registry.

Still, the government and cord blood advocates would like to see 30% more cord blood units and say there aren't enough units from certain racial and ethnic groups, who may have difficulty finding a match if they need a stem cell transplant.

Stem Cell Law Kicks in Money

A 2005 stem cell law provided funding to bank 150,000 new units of cord blood. At the time, there were an estimated 44,000 units, which was considered inadequate to offer a wide range of units for those who might benefit from a stem cell transplant.

As mandated by the law, the federal government contracted with 13 public cord blood banks to provide blood. Because the donor in a cord blood transplant doesn't need to be an exact match, cord blood is particularly valuable for people for whom an exact donor match can't be found, including African Americans and people of mixed ethnic heritage with blood and genetic disorders who often have a difficult time finding a transplant donor.

When the stem cell law was reauthorized in 2010, it included new money to increase the genetic diversity of the supply. More than 70% of the units of cord blood in the NCBI are from white and Hispanic donors. Just 14% of all units in the registry are from blacks, and just 4% are from Asians.

Thousands of people who need a transplant every year can't find a match, said Machi Scaradavou, MD, pediatric oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and medical director of the New York Blood Center's National Blood Cord Program.

The federal government pays the 13 cord blood banks -- most of which are nonprofits -- a little more than $1,000 for each unit banked, but the banks' biggest source of income is from selling the unit to be used in a transplant. The GAO report said banks receive payments of between $22,800 and $30,000 per cord blood unit.

But demand for cord blood seems to be slowing, and along with it, money from the blood banks' biggest revenue stream.

Why Is Demand Waning?

HHS added that the waning demand is likely due to the costs associated with cord blood transplants and issues with banking and not that fewer people need transplants.

The GAO claims that part of the demand slowdown may center around the medical community's questions about which diseases can most benefit from stem cell transplants. HHS has convened an expert panel to develop a consensus for which diagnoses stem cell transplants would be an accepted standard of care.

Another option to improve blood cord collection identified in the report is establishment of a remote collection program that would allow mothers who deliver a child at a site that is not equipped to collect the cord blood to send the umbilical cord to a bank that can process it.

To examine that idea, the Health Resources and Services Administration is trying out remote collection to determine whether using a "cord blood donation kit" can increase donations.

Of the 758 units collected through the remote collection pilot program as of March 2011, just 68 were banked. Most units were considered unusable because they arrived too late, not enough cord blood was collected, or required labels or documents were missing.

Officials who were interviewed for the GAO report said they weren't sure samples sent via a kit would meet the FDA's requirement for licensure, which goes into effect Oct. 20.

The FDA regulates cord blood used in transplants when the donor is not related to the patient. Starting in less than 10 days, centers that collect cord blood units must be licensed by the FDA and the units will be treated like any other FDA-regulated biologic.

Units from nonlicensed centers may still be used in FDA-approved clinical trials.

A number of banks expressed concern over the new FDA regulations, including the cost of complying.

This article was developed in collaboration with ABC News.

I believe this is not a private banking vs. public donation problem as the story leads on. Parents decide to store privately because they see this as a biological insurance policy or securing the future of there child's well-being. The main issue is the lack of education, awareness, and focusing on securing more storages in the public registries for minorities. Racial diversity of the registry as a whole is key to meeting supply demands. I believe that the private sector could and should take the reins and turn the United States national cord blood banking and stem cell research sectors and turn them around. Compared to countries in Europe, China, and South America, the United States is years behind and everyday that the "political red tape" keeps holding back the true emergence of the medical revolution that adult stem cells are becoming is just doing injustice to the citizens and taxpayers of our great nation..........MrCordBlood

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A New International Congress on Regenerative Medicine Held With Great Success by Cryo-Save in Bosnia


It is part of Cryo-Save's educational program deployment to increase the awareness of stem cells therapy and regenerative medicine amongst healthcare professionals.

The Second international congress "Regenerative medicine - stem cells, genetic engineering and biotechnology" was held on December 9 inSarajevo, supported by the Institute for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and Cryo-Save, Europe's leading stem cell bank with their local partner, FAMILY-PLUS.

After the recent initiatives in Serbia and Italy, the Bosnian Congress joins Cryo-Save's official training plans and reaffirms the efforts of the company to put together its educational program about stem cells therapies and current applications.

Arnoud van Tulder, CEO of Cryo-Save Group, addressed to participants that Cryo-Save is fully committed in creating a new approach towards stem cells storage, with the aim to increase global awareness about current treatments and future promising applications. "We are aware of our leading role and therefore we have created and supported different educational programs which should help doctors and scientists to offer latest news from current researches about use of stem cells. Our know-how directly derives from our experience: in over ten years of activity, we have over 200.000 samples stored", van Tulder said.

With participation of local doctors, the congress also welcomed eminent names of world medicine, primarily those who regularly implement stem cell treatments in their practice.

Dr. Zoran Galić, from UCLA University in Los Angeles, referred that "field of stem cells presents one of the most dynamic research disciplines of modern medicine and points out large number of potential therapies based on these cells."

Prof. Christof Stamm, from German Heart Institute Berlin (DHZB) - Cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery, said that research work in the field of cardiovascular regenerative medicine raises hope. "Research on the treatment of heart muscle tissue with stem cells from bone marrow have created strong basis for clinical and experimental studies. For decades it's been known that cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells. One of main reasons for their use is their young age and their potential to differentiate easily into certain types of adult cells," said prof. Stamm.

Cherie Daly, MD, member of ITERA and member of Medical Advisory Board of Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, referred to the history of umbilical cord blood transplants. The past 23 years of cord blood stem cells transplantations showed that cord blood can successfully be preserved without losses in vitality and functionality; it is an efficient source of stem cells to treat a large number of diseases, including malignant hematological diseases, bone marrow, hemoglobinepathies and inborn errors of metabolism.

It is GREAT when you see companies, researchers, and the medical community together collaborating on all the present and potential uses using adult stem cells. This blossoming industry is still in it's infancy but has paved TREMENDOUS progress in such a short time. Adult stem cells will benefit all of mankind but especially future generations in my opinion..........MrCordBlood

Promising results from Fate Therapeutics ProHema Phase 1b trial on hematologic malignancies


Fate Therapeutics, Inc. announced today promising clinical results from a Phase 1b trial of ProHema (FT1050-enhanced umbilical cord blood) as part of double-umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplants in adult patients with hematologic malignancies who have undergone reduced-intensity conditioning therapy. The data are being presented at the 53rd annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting, being held December 10-13, in San Diego, California (Abstract Number: 653; entitled, "FT1050 (16,16-dimethyl Prostaglandin E2)-Enhanced Umbilical Cord Blood Accelerates Hematopoietic Engraftment After Reduced Intensity Conditioning and Double Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation"). ProHema is a first-in-class therapeutic candidate, consisting of pharmacologically-enhanced hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), designed to improve HSC support during the normal course of a stem cell transplant for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies.

The Phase 1b double-UCB study conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital achieved its primary objective of demonstrating safety and tolerability of ProHema based upon patient engraftment by Day 42 with greater than 5% chimerism of the ProHema unit. In addition, of the twelve subjects presented in the abstract that received a ProHema unit and an untreated unit, the median time to neutrophil recovery (> 500 cells/uL) was 17.5 days, which compares favorably to a median of 21 days for a historic control group of similarly treated subjects at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"These clinical trial data support Fate's novel therapeutic approach for the development of stem cell biology-based medicines," said Pratik Multani, M.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical Development at Fate Therapeutics. "We believe these clinical observations represent the first evidence that the ex vivo pharmacologic modulation of hematopoietic stem cells has the potential to improve patient outcomes, and we look forward to rapidly advancing ProHema into broader clinical investigation."

There were no instances of primary or secondary graft failure in the twelve subjects. The adverse events associated with the infusion of the ProHema unit appeared to be no greater than the background expected rate associated with cord blood infusion. The events consisted of five Grade 1/2 infusion-related events of chills, flushing, abdominal pain, or cough in 4 subjects. In addition, one subject experienced transient Grade 4 ST-elevation following infusion and evidence of myocardial ischemia by cardiac troponin assay. To date, two cases of Grade 2 acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) have been observed in the first 100 days, and one subject developed NIH mild chronic GvHD. Currently, treatment related mortality is 8% (one subject). One subject has relapsed, while the remaining ten subjects are alive without relapse with a median follow-up of approximately 8.5 months.

"ProHema appears to offer the potential to improve clinical outcomes for patients undergoing double-UCB transplantation," said Corey Cutler M.D., M.P.H., F.R.C.P.C., associate professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School and principal investigator of the Phase 1b clinical study. "Given the competitive engraftment dynamic of double-UCB transplantation, the clinical data suggest that the ProHema unit was able to preferentially engraft over the untreated cord blood unit. While further investigation is needed to confirm this finding, these data open the possibility for clinicians to treat the best-matched unit to encourage more favorable patient outcomes."

SOURCE Fate Therapeutics, Inc.

Kudos to Fate Therapeutics and their research team, lets keep all this great news and advancements coming!!!!............MrCordBlood