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December

Elan Simckes, MD
Dec 2012   It seems that everything in our world is changing. It is a sunny day, the temperature outside is 80°F in December in America's heartland, a nine-year-old girl is visiting the doctor because she is developing breasts, and I had a meeting with a 54-year-old woman who wants to have a child. It seems that the physical world and the biological world are transforming almost before our eyes. Over the last hundred years we have seen the life expectancy of a woman double, going from 40 years to over 80 years. As a result our society is changing. Our young girls grow up and dream of having "it all": an education, a satisfying career, and a family exactly when they are ready. Unfortunately some things don't change quite as quickly.
Dec 2012   My daughters and I bring you "Season's Greetings" from the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.We recently reviewed some of the demographics of our outreach: Only 65% of the readers of our website are in the United Sates. Our second biggest source of readers is India, which edged out Canada for the number two spot in 2010. Most readers, 89%, rely on English as their language, despite the ability to use a Google translate button for our web pages. About 70% of our readers are new each month, typically expectant parents who have decided they need to find out why their baby's cord blood is important, and what are their options?
Rouzbeh R. Taghizadeh, PhD
Dec 2012   Umbilical cord blood is a great source of young blood-forming stem cells (called hematopoietic stem cells or HSCs). Currently, stem cells from cord blood are used in the treatment of a host of blood-related diseases. However, a major drawback of cord blood transplants is the limited volume of blood that can be collected from a single umbilical cord. Consequently, a limited number of stem cells can be derived from a single cord blood collection. Transplants are more successful with a higher cell dose, hence numerous methods are currently under investigation to increase the efficiency of cord blood transplants, including ex vivo expansion of the hematopoietic stem cells before transplant, increasing the homing of hematopoietic stem cells to the patient's bone marrow, direct injections into the patient's femoral bone, and transplants with multiple cord blood units. A more straightforward method is to utilize another stem cell population - mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) - for co-transplantation with a cord blood unit.