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Feb 2014 There is growing acceptance in the medical community that stem cells derived from cord blood have value as a therapy for pediatric neurologic injury. But what financial hurdles do parents face when they attempt to access that value for their children? In this article we present a case study of the out-of-pocket costs that parents face when they use their child's own (autologous) cord blood as therapy for cerebral palsy, and receive the treatment at Duke University Medical Center ("Duke" hereafter).
Feb 2014 There should be thousands of children worldwide who already have a cerebral palsy diagnosis and have their own cord blood in storage, based on the epidemiology of the disorder and the inventory of cord blood in family banks. If autologous cord blood therapy for cerebral palsy is accepted as a standard of care, those children are the immediate potential market for therapy. If therapy with matched cord blood donations is also accepted, even more children will potentially have access, but the cost of therapy will go up dramatically, and the search for a matching cord blood unit will complicate their ability to access this therapy.
Jan 2014 When someone thinks to the potential of regenerative medicine, the main idea is that of immature cells which may transdifferentiate towards a mature cell type, which may be used to repopulate a target organ cells, and thereby treat human diseases. This concept drives a lot of research undertaken worldwide. Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells (WJ-MSC) are not an exception to this rule: They are derived from the tissue constituting the bulk of the umbilical cord (1). Applications of these cells, often supported by data from several in vivo models, range from the nervous system to the liver, pancreas, heart and other organs in the body (2-4).
Jan 2014 Recently, two exciting studies in China were published that highlight the co-transplantation of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSC) and human umbilical cord blood hematopoietic stem cells (CB-HSC) into human patients. These papers provide some of the first human data to support a scientific hypothesis that was first suggested at the 7th International Cord Blood Society (ICBS) Congress in 2004 (1).
Jan 2014 Most scientists think of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC, or mesenchymal stem cells) as being associated with bone marrow or adipose tissue. However, new explorations of MSC derived from umbilical cord tissue (UC-MSC) promises abundance and great therapeutic value of these cells.
Dec 2013 It's hard for me to remember exactly what was going on inside my head almost four years ago when I first saw an advertisement for cord blood banking. That was three children and a lifetime ago. I was a different person. I wasn't a mother yet. I had never nursed, budgeted for child care, disciplined a child of my own, bought kid's apps for my iPhone, or gone days (Weeks? Months? Years?) without a good night's rest. Nevertheless, cord blood banking advertising is designed to elicit a visceral reaction in parents-to-be, and it still has that effect on me now even after all the time and effort I have invested in educating myself on the subject. People are irrational and emotional, especially when dealing with fear, money, or children. Cord blood banking involves all three of these!
Dec 2013 Cords4LifeUK was founded in memory of a British toddler named Charlie Harris - Beard. In April 2011 at the age of 11 months, Charlie was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), and within the next four months he went through four intensive cycles of chemotherapy to suppress his blood cancer. But AML cannot be cured without a stem cell transplant, and unless he could find a matching donor, Charlie was given only three months to live.
Dec 2013 I did not set out to write a novel about cord blood. I stumbled upon the idea in an unlikely place - a book club, where I'd been invited to speak about my first novel, HOME REPAIR. I mentioned that I'd been thinking about my second novel, a much darker novel than the first one, more complicated. In fact, I told the group, I'd been thinking about it for 30 years. But I was stuck on a plot point.
Nov 2013 Any temperature extremes that would threaten the life of a child or a pet - being left in a parked car for more than a few minutes, traveling in the cargo hold of an airplane, etc. - also kills cord blood stem cells. The key to shipping fresh cord blood to the laboratory with maximum cell survival is to keep the temperature stable inside the shipping kit. But this simple requirement can be very challenging to implement.