Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stem Cells can Be Used To Repair Heart Tissues Without Surgical Incision: Experts

Stem Cells Can be Used to Repair Heart Tissues Without Surgical Incision: Experts

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In a great sigh of relief to heart patients, top international researchers here in Hyderabad revealed that Stem Cell Technology can be used to repair damaged heart tissues without actually performing surgical incision into the chest.

While participating in the International stem cell conference at International School of Business at Gachibowli, scientists revealed that the stem cell technology can be used to repair heart tissues damaged by myocardial infraction commonly known as heart attack.

Taking it as a great break through in the medical sciences, doctors and heart surgeons felt that the stem cell technology will be a great boon to the millions of patients suffering from heart attacks.

According to eminent Scientist Prof. Minger, head global research and development at GE Healthcare UK, the heart tissues are usually damaged by the myocardial infraction. This is also commonly known as heart attack. By using the stem cell technology, it is easier and simpler to heal the heart tissues,” revealed the Scientist.

Usually in a conventional method of heart surgery doctors cut open the chest muscles to gain access to the heart, but now with the use of stem cell technology this practice can be put on halt.

By using the stem cell technology, the heart cells cultured in laboratory can be implanted in heart through a catheter from one of the arms. As this kind of treatment is not involving any physical incisions on the body, the patients can be discharged on the same day.

Further explaining in detail, Prof Minger said that heart attack occurs when blood supply to the heart is stopped for a long time and this damages the heart tissues. By using stem cell technology such damaged tissues can be treated without any complicated surgery.

The scientist advocated that as India is having a huge population of more than a billion, the country can play a key role in stem cells and regenerative medicine. “There is a need to create awareness among the population. If India and China could bank even one per cent of their annual births, they could supply stem cells to the whole world,” said Prof Minger.

“Public banking of cord blood will enable to treat many diseases which are incurable such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In the next 4-5 years developing heart tissues damaged by myocardial infraction will become a real possibility,” revealed the scientist.

Throwing light on recent developments, the professor said that heart cells derived from  bone marrow have been implanted successfully in a patient, and the technology is helpful in transplanting new insulin-producing cells for diabetics and myelinating cells for individual afflicted with multiple sclerosis.

Very promising developments using stem cell technology for heart attack patients. Heart disease is one of if not the top causes of death in the world. Finding like these show the importance of storing stem cells and the role that regenerative medicine will play in the years to come. My favorite part of the article was how they stressed the importance of public banking of cord blood. Whether banked privately for one's own use or donated publicly to a national registry, saving your baby's cord blood could be a LIFE-SAVING DECISION. I urge every expecting parent to become aware and informed so they can make an educated decision on the value of cord blood banking...............MrCordBlood

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cord Blood Chronicles: Phoenix boy, 2, Faces Long Difficult Medical Road

Cord Blood Chronicles: Phoenix boy, 2, Faces Long Difficult Medical

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A little blond boy bounces with energy, playing and squealing like any normal toddler. He doesn't look sick, but this 2-year-old, northeast-Phoenix toddler hides a blood disease and is need of a bone-marrow transplant.

When Noah Swanson was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome in November, his parents were given two options: find a bone-marrow match for Noah or pursue a cord-blood transplant.

"I was devastated," said Nancy Swanson, Noah's mom. "I just started bawling."

Childhood MDS is very rare, as the syndrome typically affects older men. MDS targets the blood, preventing Noah from creating mature blood cells, including white blood cells. He is highly susceptible to bacterial infections because he lacks the cells to fight them off. Noah will have to go through chemotherapy to kill his bone marrow before any transplant occurs.

"He's perfect on the outside. We just need to make him perfect on the inside," Nancy said.
No bone-marrow match has been found for Noah in the national and international registries. He likely will have to undergo a cord-blood transplant, which is the more-expensive, least-tested option and requires a longer stay in the hospital, Nancy said. A cord-blood transplant takes stem cells from an umbilical cord donated by a mother and puts those new cells into the patient.

Some sort of transplant probably will be needed in April, before Noah's MDS has the chance to develop into acute myeloid leukemia, cancer that starts inside bone marrow.

Noah's family, which includes an older sister, 5-year-old Sydney, has accepted that he will likely get a cord-blood transplant, but is trying to encourage people to register with Be The Match, a national marrow-donor program.

"We want to find a match for anyone who needs it," Nancy said. "We don't wish this on any other family."

Be The Match adds 60,000 members a month, but that isn't enough. Aubrie Vargas, an account executive with the donor program, said people often think donating bone marrow is a surgical procedure, but it a lot like donating plasma.

To be eligible to donate, people can register at Interested donors can fill out their personal information online and a cheek-swab kit will be mailed to the house. The kit is returned once the swab is complete, and a new donor is added to the registry.

"We want to bring forward that people should register," said Scott Swanson, Noah's father. "If there's anything we can do for the community, it's this."

The Swansons also have teamed with the Children's Organ Transplant Association, or COTA, to raise money for Noah. A transplant will cost $350,000 to $500,000, which does not include co-pays for follow-up visits, medication, transportation costs or food.

The family has health insurance -- Nancy is in insurance sales and Scott is in information technology -- but not enough to cover all of the expenses. COTA and volunteers are trying to raise $50,000 through fundraisers for Noah. The money raised will go into a COTA account, designated for the toddler. If Noah needs any of the money from his account, COTA dispenses the funds.

"The fund will always be there for him throughout his life if some secondary illness comes along later in life," Nancy said.

In the meantime, Noah's family waits to find out which transplant the toddler will receive. If all goes well with the chemotherapy and the transplant, Noah's prognosis will be much improved.
"That is the encouraging thing," Scott said. "We always wanted that to be the outcome."

I hope the best for Noah and his journey ahead. Since no bone-marrow matches have been found, it is good to know that the Swanson's have an alternative option with an umbilical cord blood transplant. Finding any type of match whether it be an organ, bone-marrow, or even cord blood stem cells is difficult and that is why I think it is so important for parents to consider privately banking their baby's umbilical cord blood or in the very least publicly donate so another child may have the opportunity to find a match in their most desperate hours. Stem cells are saving lives everyday and with cord blood being one of the richest sources of stem cells, banking your child's cord blood at birth in my opinion is a no-brainer...........MrCordBlood

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Donate Umbilical Cord Blood, the Gift of Life,18491

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“The Catholic Church opposes life-saving stem-cell research!”
How many times have we seen this claim repeated by credulous reporters? More importantly, how many of us know that this claim is completely false?
To be clear, the Catholic Church does oppose embryonic stem-cell research — that is, the kind of research that creates and destroys embryonic human beings. But the Church strongly supports research that uses donated adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood cells — the only type of research that is actually yielding life-saving therapies today.
Donated stem cells have the potential to develop into more specific cells, many of which are already used to treat cancer, genetic diseases and immunodeficiency disorders. Sadly, while umbilical cord blood can offer life-saving therapy, it is usually discarded as medical waste.
Technology, properly and morally used, can be a wonderful thing. Today, parents have the opportunity to donate blood from their newborn’s umbilical cord, after the child is born, to a bank where it can provide the gift of life for a patient in need. Donation of cord blood poses no risk to either mother or baby and does not alter the birth experience since the blood can be collected either before or after the placenta is delivered. By agreeing to donate your child’s cord blood, you really are just authorizing medical professionals to properly collect, transport and store this blood that would otherwise be thrown away.
Such donations do, however, require some planning. Sometime before the 34th week of pregnancy, parents and their obstetrician should discuss the option of cord blood donation, and parents must complete a detailed medical questionnaire. A history of cancer other than successfully treated superficial skin cancers makes a woman ineligible to donate cord blood. In addition, certain infections within the 12 months prior to delivery would eliminate the possibility of cord blood donation. Within one week after delivery, a mother must have her own blood drawn and screened for infectious diseases like hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus and cytomegalovirus in order to complete the donation process.
There are currently only 185 hospitals in the United States that have umbilical cord blood collection programs, so their availability varies widely. In Virginia, the only hospital with an established program is Inova-Fairfax. But even if a hospital does not have a cord blood donation program, the opportunity may still exist if parents are willing to do a little legwork. Parents can obtain donation kits directly from the banks and then bring these kits to the hospital when they check in for the birth of their child. The list of participating hospitals, as well as the list of public cord blood banks that support donations in non-participating hospitals, can be found at
The donation of umbilical cord blood is encouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Medical Association; and it is considered morally licit by the Catholic Church. In fact, the Church recognizes organ and tissue donation as a supreme act of charity. Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote in “Evangelium Vitae”:
“Over and above such outstanding moments, there is an everyday heroism, made up of gestures of sharing, big or small, which build up an authentic culture of life. A particularly praiseworthy example of such gestures is the donation of organs, performed in an ethically acceptable manner, with a view to offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope” (No. 86).
Therefore, the possibility to donate their newborn’s umbilical cord blood deserves serious consideration from Catholic parents. With a little effort on their part, parents can allow the precious gift that they have received with the birth of their child to become a gift of life for someone suffering from a catastrophic illness. While it may not be possible for all parents to make such a gift, it’s worth noting that often generosity with life goes beyond mere openness to having children. Donating cord blood is a beautiful witness to a true culture of life.
Hunnell is a fellow of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International.

With nearly a billion followers in the Catholic faith worldwide, I think it speaks volumes about the importance of adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood banking being endorsed by the Catholic Church. Many worldwide still have the misconception that anything stem cell related is "embryonic" in nature which couldn't be further from the truth. The leaps and bounds that are being made is the adult stem cell arena are nothing short of miraculous and new leases on life are being granted daily to so many through umbilical cord blood transplants. With the future of regenerative medicine shining brighter every day, the urgency of saving one's own stem cells has never been greater. Become aware and educated on how saving stem cells save lives.............MrCordBlood

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saving for a Rainy Day in Life

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It is not your everyday form of banking but is one that an increasing number of couples, particularly in WA, are undertaking on behalf of their children.
It can be done with a private or public bank and is a hedge against possible future health problems.
It is cord blood banking, in which a baby's umbilical cord blood is frozen and stored.
More than 41,000 Australians have opted for it.
According to Cell Care, the largest private cord blood bank in Australia, WA parents are embracing cord blood banking at a faster rate than their Eastern States counterparts.
More than one in five of parents banking with Cell Care is from WA, despite the State accounting for only 10 per cent of births in the nation.
About one per cent of Australian parents bank cord blood privately, totalling about 3500 banked samples a year from almost 296,000 births, compared with an estimated 5 per cent in the US and more than 20 per cent in Singapore and Korea. In all, 18,000 Australians have banked privately and 23,616 publicly.
Cord blood is a rich source of stemcells, the building blocks of all cells in the body, and of immune cells called regulatory T-cells, which help control the immune system and may have potential to treat immune disorders.
According to Cell Care, parents are increasingly choosing to bank their baby's cord blood if they have a family history of disease, have a baby of an ethnic minority or mixed ethnicity where there may be a greater difficulty finding a matched donor or for future regenerative medicine options.
In Australia, if banked privately - for a fee of about $3000 for 18 years storage - ownership and control of the cord blood can be retained.
If done for free through a public bank, it is available to any patient worldwide who is in need of a cord blood transplant. And, at present, there is no public bank in WA.
Cell Care medical director Mark Kirkland, who is an associate professor of research at Deakin University, said the rationale for public banks was that cord blood could be used to treat leukaemias, even in cases where the tissue type was not identical between donor and recipient. Cord blood transplants had lower incidences of rejection by the recipient and of graft versus host disease - in which the donated cells attack the recipient's cells.
Professor Kirkland said private banking was popular because it was still better to have a full match for a transplant.
Another area for cord blood use was regenerative medicine and cellular therapies, he said.
"My hope is that cord blood will turn out to have applications in a wide array of different situations," he said.
In Australia, cord blood stemcells are licensed for use only in transplant medicine to treat diseases such as leukaemia, other cancers and blood disorders, although samples have been released for regenerative medicine applications under an exemption from the regulator.
Conditions which might be treated by regenerative medicine include type 1 diabetes and cerebral palsy.
Like most parents, Pauline Goodreid is after peace of mind and has taken the step of banking cord blood to help achieve that. At the birth of each of her children, Halle and Clay, she had their cord blood saved and banked as a future source of vital stemcells.
Mrs Goodreid, 34, said although there was no history of serious illness in her family or that of her husband, Adrian, 40, they had used their baby bonus to pay for private cord blood banking through Cell Care.
"We had done a bit of reading and some friends had done it so it made us look into it further," she said. "It is not something you ever want to think about but I guess there is the potential to treat medical conditions if it should ever be needed for either of the kids. You do what you can to protect your children."
Mrs Goodreid said the banked frozen cord blood potentially could be used for her, Adrian and any future children.

I think that the cost to bank your baby's cord blood is mere pennies compared to the potential life-saving powers cord blood stem cells possess. My 2 children's lives are PRICELESS and banking both of their cord blood was the best decision I could have made as a parent. I hope the day never comes that those stem cells are needed but should that day arrive, I know they will be ready and waiting to battle some of the most devastating diseases that afflict the human race. I strongly urge that every expecting parent learn more about the life-saving potential that banking your baby's cord blood could offer as it may one day be the lifeline you need in your most desperate hour.............MrCordBlood

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mother: Blood From Daughter's Umbilical Cord Saved Toddler's Life

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KMOV) -- A Missouri mom says blood from her daughter's umbilical cord saved her toddler's life.

Sparrow, now 5, was just a year and a half old when she fell into a pool.  Doctors told her family she wouldn't survive, but Sparrow made major milestones after doctors at Duke University infused the little girl with her own stem cells, taken from the cord blood her family had stored.

"We knew the research was new and we didn't know exactly where the science was going to take it, but it could be beneficial for Alzheimer’s, cancers and certain things like that, so we saw the value in it and banked her cord blood," Tonya Morris, Sparrow's mom, said.

Cord blood costs about $3,000 up front to bank, then about $200 a month to store it.  The Morris family looks at it like an insurance policy.

"We knew that if there was some significant research done, and we had this for our children, who would highly likely -- it was like 75 to 80 percent chance of matching her cord blood, a sibling's cord blood -- and we had that for them and they faced something in life, it would be there," Morris said.

Morris says the stem cells found in the cord blood were used to help heal her daughter's brain injury.  She says Sparrow literally made astonishing improvements just one day after the infusion.

"We saw this difference in her," Morris said.  "She was very energetic, very excited, and it was the first day that she had initiated conversation with us."

Another great example of how storing your baby's cord blood could be a life-saving decision. Banking our children's cord blood was the best decision my wife and I could make and we know should the day ever come that we need them, they are ready and waiting............MrCordBlood

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Survivor's Ethan Zohn Gets Stem-Cell Transplant: "Today I Leap Into a Healthy New Body"

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Forget feeling like a million bucks. Ethan Zohn is feeling like a new man.

The Survivor: Africa champ underwent a stem-cell transplant Wednesday to treat a recurrence of his Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer—and he has his brother to thank for the immuno-boost.

Outwit, outlast, outplay has never quite meant so much.

"Today I leap into a healthy new body. Today is the start of the rest of my life. Thank You to my bro Lee & all who have supported me. Love!" the reality star tweeted presumably before undergoing the transfusion.

And of course, Jenna Morasca, Zohn's girlfriend and winner of Survivor: The Amazon, was right there with him the whole time.

"Thanks @JennaMorasca for being by my side. Love you," he added in a follow up.

Just before the transplant, Morasca wrote on Twitter: "Today @EthanZohn gets new stem cells & new cancer free life FOREVER! And we get our lives back. Send positive healing vibes #getbetterethan"

MORE: Survivor Ethan Zohn's Cancer Returns

During the operation, Zohn's gal-pal kept her nerves calm and distracted herself by drawing a little self-portrait which she subsequently posted as a twit pic.

After it was over, Morasca was all smiles.

"Very happy girl right now :)))))," she tweeted.

Getting a new lease on life hasn't been easy for the former Boran tribesman, though change is (see he and Morasca's recent cut and dye job in honor of World Cancer Day).

In May 2009, Zohn first learned he had a rare form of the disease called CD20-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma, after doctors found a swollen lymph node and a mass on the left side of his chest. After undergoing intensive rounds of chemotherapy, the 38-year-old professional soccer player's cancer appeared to be in remission until Nov. 2011 when new cancer cells were detected, localized this time in his lung.

MORE: Take That, Cancer! Ethan Zohn Completes New York City Marathon

In an interview with People, Morasca said that despite the setback, her beau has every intention of whipping this latest challenge, just as the Survivor stud did when he successfully ran last November's New York City marathon.
"Ethan asked the doctor what was the record time for getting out of here, so he wants to beat that," she told the magazine. "His doctor said there was no prize, and Ethan said, 'Yes, there is. You're going to tell the other patients that I made it out in three weeks.' "

She added that Zohn also received the transplant at the same ward where he was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's, something that's been tough for the pair.

MORE: Ethan Zohn says Kardashians are helping cure cancer?

"No one wants to come back here. Even though the nurses and doctors are wonderful, this is one place where you really don't want to see anybody ever again," said Morasca. "Then, starting the chemo and being attached to a pump that you're going to be attached to for the next three to five weeks made it very real."

The procedure will hopefully provide Ethan with the lifelong protection he needs to prevent the cancer's return. Zohn, with Morasca at his side, is expected to remain in the hospital until he gets the OK from doctors that his body has accepted the new healthy stem cells.

We wish him a speedy recovery.

Read more:

Great news for Ethan. He has already been able to "Outlast, Outwit, and Outplay" the competition in South Africa and hopefully with this stem cell transplant he can do the same against this recurrence of Hodgkin's. More and more people along with celebrities and athletes are seeing the power adult stem cells possess. Stem Cells Save Lives..................MrCordBlood