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In the event your child becomes seriously ill, develops a genetic disorder, illness affecting the immune system or blood-related disease, we ask that you notify the cord blood bank as this could impact the patient receiving your cord blood donation. Contact us for information »
Umbilical cord blood contains haematopoietic (blood) stem cells. These cells are able to make the different types of cell in the blood – red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Haematopoietic stem cells, purified from bone marrow or blood, have long been used in stem cell treatments for leukaemia, blood and bone marrow disorders, cancer (when chemotherapy is used) and immune deficiencies.
Umbilical cord blood is useful for research. For example, researchers are investigating ways to grow and multiply haematopoietic (blood) stem cells from cord blood so that they can be used in more types of treatments and for adult patients as well as children. Cord blood can also be donated altruistically for clinical use. Since 1989, umbilical cord blood transplants have been used to treat children who suffer from leukaemia, anaemias and other blood diseases.
Cord blood in public banks is available to unrelated patients who need haematopoietic stem cell transplants. Some banks, such as the NHS bank in the UK, also collect and store umbilical cord blood from children born into families affected by or at risk of a disease for which haematopoietic stem cell transplants may be necessary – either for the child, a sibling or a family member. It is also possible to pay to store cord blood in a private bank for use by your own family only.
For families who wish to donate cord blood to a public bank, the biggest hurdle may be finding a nearby hospital that collects cord blood for donation. Most public banks only work with select hospitals in their community. In the U.S., there are only about 200 hospitals that collect cord blood donations. Find out if there is a donation hospital near you.
Umbilical cord blood is being studied for potential use in a wide variety of life-threatening diseases because it is a rich source of blood stem cells. Transplantation of blood stem cells from umbilical cords has been used successfully to treat several pediatric blood diseases, including sickle cell anemia and cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. This procedure is still considered investigational. There is currently no solid evidence that umbilical cord blood stem cells have the ability to be transformed into other types of cells, such as replacement nerve tissue or myelin-making cells.
In the last 10 yr, umbilical cord blood has been shown to be therapeutically useful for rescuing patients with bone marrow-related deficits and inborn errors of metabolism. Umbilical cord blood offers advantages over bone marrow because cord blood does not require perfect human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue matching, has less incidence of graft vs host disease, and may be used allogenically (11,12). In addition, cord blood may be banked, and thus is available for use “off-the-shelf.” Last year, a federally supported program was established to expand the national umbilical cord blood banks to include a wide sample of HLA types. By 2004, there were more than 6000 cord blood stem cell units banked. As of January 2006, it is estimated that there are about 300,000 units in public and private banks in the United States.
The second question concerns “storing” the newborn’s cord blood for the child’s future use or a family member’s future use. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement saying that, “Cord blood donation should be discouraged when cord blood stored in a bank is to be directed for later personal or family use.” They state: “No accurate estimates exist of the likelihood of children to need their own stored cord blood stem cells in the future. The range of available estimates is from 1 in 1000 to more than 1 in 200000.51 The potential for children needing their own cord blood stem cells for future autologous use is controversial presently.” Read the complete statement here.
Another contributor to cord blood banking costs is the quality of the collection kit. Cheaper banks typically use flimsy collection kits. To insure the survival of newborn stem cells, the shipping container should be thermally insulated to maintain kit temperature during cord blood shipments.
The cord is cut and clamped, just like normal. The mother doesn’t go through anything different during birth, and neither does her child. They will experience no additional pain or procedures before, during, or after birth.
If clients need to use the cord blood stem cells stored with CBR for transplantation and the cells fail to engraft, clients receive a full refund of all fees paid to CBR for cord blood services plus an additional $50,000.
Participating mothers will give a sample of blood (about four teaspoons), which will be tested for certain infections, including hepatitis and HIV. This is done to reduce the chances of passing on an infectious disease through the transplantation of the cord blood unit. This blood sample can be obtained at the hospital when the nurse is starting your IV or collecting routine blood samples for your physician.
As shown in Table 1, at least five different laboratories have extracted MSC-like cells from umbilical cord tissues. Some differences in the ease with which MSC-like cells are isolated from the various tissues are reported. Importantly, the methods for isolating MSC-like cells are robust, i.e., labs throughout the world independently isolate MSC-like cells from these tissues. This opens the door for independent verification, scalable production, and a large-team approach.
In addition to hematopoietic cells, Mesenchymal cells derived from Wharton’s jelly are useful as feeder layers for the propagation of other stem cell types. For example, equine embryonic stem cell-like cells derived from the inner cell mass were propagated successfully for more than 350 divisions on a feeder layer derived from stem cells isolated from Wharton’s jelly of equine umbilical cords (74). The equine ES-like cells could be maintained without leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) as long as they were on the cord matrix cells.
Generalized stem cell lineage concept. The lineage is characterized by a self-maintaining “parent” true stem cell population that resides within a specialized niche microenvironment, which aids the regulation of stem cell division or quiescence (nondividing). Derivative cells (called progeny or daughter cells) are of two types: symmetric division produces two identical daughter cells to expand or maintain the stem cell population; asymmetric division produces an identical daughter and a specialized cell (a differentiated cell). The differentiated cell is an intermediate type of precursor cell, termed the transient dividing population. The number of divisions of the intermediate precursor is fairly tightly regulated by microenvironment and inborn regulation factors. The intermediate precursors are thought to have a limited proliferative capacity. Further tissue-specific specialization continues form the intermediate precursors, producing specialized populations with a commitment to a progressively more specialized (differentiated) fate. The end points are fully differentiated cells that are nondividing and that live for various, tissue-specific periods prior to senescence or damage that leads to cell death. In some tissues, the naturally occurring cell loss produces various feedback signals that trigger normal cell replacement via amplification/differentiation of either stem cells or the intermediate precursors.
Lack of awareness is the #1 reason why cord blood is most often thrown away. For most pregnant mothers, their doctor does not even mention the topic. If a parent wants to save cord blood, they must be pro-active.
Another type of cell that can also be collected from umbilical cord blood are mesenchymal stromal cells. These cells can grown into bone, cartilage and other types of tissues and are being used in many research studies to see if patients could benefit from these cells too.
MSC-like cells derived from Wharton’s jelly adjacent to umbilical vessels (termed human umbilical cord perivascular cells) cultured in nonosteogenic media nevertheless contained a subpopulation that demonstrated a functional osteogenic phenotype with the elaboration of bone nodules (29); addition of osteogenic supplements further enhanced this population. These findings suggest that cord matrix stem cells, like bmMSCs, are multipotent: capable of making ectoderm- and mesoderm-derived cells.
^ Caseiro, AR; Pereira, T; Ivanova, G; Luís, AL; Maurício, AC (2016). “Neuromuscular Regeneration: Perspective on the Application of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Their Secretion Products”. Stem Cells International. 2016: 9756973. doi:10.1155/2016/9756973. PMC 4736584 . PMID 26880998.
Along with cord blood, Wharton’s jelly and the cord lining have been explored as sources for mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), and as of 2015 had been studied in vitro, in animal models, and in early stage clinical trials for cardiovascular diseases, as well as neurological deficits, liver diseases, immune system diseases, diabetes, lung injury, kidney injury, and leukemia.
There are also hundreds of human clinical trials being performed using cord blood to treat conditions and diseases that affect millions of people in the U.S. alone. These trials involve regenerative medicine and other applications for the treatment of Diabetes, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Strokes, Neonatal & Pediatric Brain Injury, Alzheimer’s & Spinal Cord Injury to name a few (see www.clinicaltrials.gov). The existence of clinical trials does not guarantee that cord blood will be successful in the treatment of those diseases in the future. While you can’t plan on health issues your child may face, you can have possible treatment options.
In Europe and other parts of the world, cord blood banking is more often referred to as stem cell banking. As banking cord blood is designed more to collect the blood-forming stem cells and not the actual blood cells themselves, this term may be more appropriate.
Several groups have isolated MSC-like cells from the umbilical cord tissues or blood and have reported that those cells may express neural markers when differentiated (26,32), and differentiate into neural cells upon transplantation into rat brain. This is not too surprising, because adult bone marrow-derived MSCs injected into fetal rat brain engrafted, differentiated along neural-like lineages, and survived into the postnatal period (34). Similarly, Jiang et al. (19) demonstrated convincingly that bone marrow-derived MAPCs could be differentiated in vitro to become cells with electrophysiological properties of neurons. Increasingly, reports are indicating that bone marrow-derived cells may differentiate, first to neurospheres and then to neurons with proper neuronal electrophysiological characteristics (35,36).
Clearly, it is advantageous to save cord blood stem cells, but it can be confusing to decide where to store them. There are currently two options: public cord blood banks and private cord blood banks. Public and private banks serve very different purposes, and it is important to know which type of bank would be more beneficial to you and your family.
In a report to the HRSA Advisory Council, scientists estimated that the chances of a pediatric patient finding a cord blood donor in the existing Be the Match registry are over 90 percent for almost all ethnic groups.
Cord blood is collected by your obstetrician or the staff at the hospital where you give birth. Not all hospitals offer this service. Some charge a separate fee that may or may not be covered by insurance.
Gift of Life is a non-profit charity that seeks to help Jewish patients find a transplant match. They recruit both bone marrow donors and cord blood donations from the Jewish community. Gift of Life operates their own accredited cord blood laboratory that participates in the national NMDP network.
Much research is focused on trying to increase the number of HSCs that can be obtained from one cord blood sample by growing and multiplying the cells in the laboratory. This is known as “ex vivo expansion”. Several preliminary clinical trials using this technique are underway. The results so far are mixed: some results suggest that ex vivo expansion reduces the time taken for new blood cells to appear in the body after transplantation; however, adult patients still appear to need blood from two umbilical cords. More research is needed to understand whether there is a real benefit for patients, and this approach has yet to be approved for routine clinical use.
Since 1989, umbilical cord blood has been used successfully to treat children with leukaemia, anaemias and other blood diseases. Researchers are now looking at ways of increasing the number of haematopoietic stem cells that can be obtained from cord blood, so that they can be used to treat adults routinely too.
MSCs can turn into bone, cartilage, fat tissue, and more. Although they are associated with bone marrow, these cells are also found in umbilical cord blood. These cells can function as connective tissue, which connects vital organs inside the body. Like HSCs, MSCs are multipotent.
nbiased and factual information. The Foundation educates parents, health professionals and the general public about the need to preserve this valuable medical resource while providing information on both public cord blood donation programs and private family cord blood banks worldwide. Learn more about our global community.
In addition to cord blood banking as an eligible FSA expense, you can also benefit from certain tax advantages to store your baby’s cord blood. As of 2013, if your child or a family member has a medical condition that might be expected to improve (through the use of cord blood), you can deduct your out-of-pocket expenses from your income taxes!
Private or family banks store cord blood for autologous use or directed donation for a family member. Private banks charge a yearly fee for storage. Blood stored in a private bank must meet the same standards as blood stored in a public bank. If you have a family member with a disorder that may potentially be treated with stem cells, some private banks will store the cord blood free of charge.
The syringe or bag should be pre-labeled with a unique number that identifies your baby. Cord blood may only be collected during the first 15 minutes following the birth and should be processed by the laboratory within 48 hours of collection.
Access Immediately available once a match is confirmed. Search and match process may take weeks or months; ultimately, a match may not be located. Immediately available upon HLA match May take weeks or months; no match may be found
In addition to the stem cells, researchers are discovering specific uses for the other types of cells in the treatment of certain conditions. Cord blood Treg cells hold potential for preventing graft-versus-host disease in stem cell transplantations and ameliorating the effects of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Cord blood natural killer cells also hold future potential. These cells have been programmed to target specific cancers and tumors in clinical trials. This could make them exceptionally strong candidates for chronic or treatment-resistant cases of cancer.
Ironically, some private banks also hope to benefit from this new legislation. “We have the capabilities and capacity to collect and store donated as well as private units,” says Cryo-Cell’s Maass. In fact, because the bill recommends that pregnant women be informed of all of their cord-blood options, it’s likely that donations to both public and private banks will increase.
This is great news for families who have chosen to bank their newborn’s blood because someone in the family, typically a sibling, is suffering from a genetic disease or disorder, that cord blood is currently being used to treat.
Each cord blood bank has different directions for returning the consent form. Some banks may ask you to mail the consent form along with the health history forms or to bring the original consent form with you to the hospital. Other banks may have you finish the form at the hospital. Follow the directions from your public cord blood bank.
Carolinas Cord Blood Bank at Duke (CCBB) is headed by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg. Expectant parents who have a child in need of therapy with cord blood, especially the new therapies in clinical trials at Duke, may be eligible for directed donation through CCBB.
CBR was the first family bank accredited by AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) and the company’s quality standards have been recognized through ISO 9001:2008 certification—the global business standard for quality. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has issued cord blood regulations, and the states of California, Illinois, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have mandatory licensing for cord blood banking. The stringent laboratory processes, record keeping, quality control and quality assurance of CBR are designed to meet all federal and state guidelines and regulations.