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Apr 2013 Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a chronic lung disease that follows ventilator and oxygen treatment for acute failure to breath in babies born very prematurely (24-28 weeks of gestation instead of 40). BPD is a major complication of prematurity with a short and long term burden that reach into adulthood. Each year, 10,000 new babies suffer from BPD in the US. The economic burden is estimated at $6 billion/year, representing up to one fourth of all direct pediatric health care costs. Damage to the still developing lung stops the normal growth of the alveoli (the air sacs in the lung that allow the uptake of oxygen and release of waste carbon dioxide). Currently there is no treatment for this disease.
Mar 2013 This case report describes a novel stem cell transplant that we performed for a girl with Fanconi anemia. Children with Fanconi anemia have genetic defects that prevent normal DNA repair. The disease leads to bone marrow failure, and also to acute leukemia and solid tumors. The only long-term solution for the marrow failure is a transplant with normal blood-forming stem cells, either from a bone marrow donor or a cord blood donor. The very first cord blood transplant in the world was performed in 1988 for a child with Fanconi anemia.
Mar 2013 Susan K. Stewart was in the prime of her life when, at age 38, she was told she had leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. "I was stunned", recalls Stewart. "I had no idea what a bone marrow transplant was or even why bone marrow was important."
Mar 2013 When a patient needs a stem cell transplant, the physician's goal is to find donor stem cells that match the patient's Human Leukocyte Antigens, also known as HLA type. The ideal donor is a sibling who is an exact match, but only about 30% of patients can find a matching donor in their family. The next best thing is a matching unrelated donor (MUD) of bone marrow. But here too, not all patients can find a match. It is especially difficult for patients of African descent or mixed ancestry to find matching bone marrow donors. At this point, the next step is to look for a cord blood donation that is a close enough match.
Feb 2013 Many parents elect to save their newborn infant's umbilical cord blood in either a public cord blood bank that accepts free donations or a family cord blood bank that charges for private storage. Typically the first step towards banking cord blood is when the mother receives a collection kit that she must safeguard and have ready at the time of birth. This article explains the contents of collection kits and gives parents advice on how to keep them safe.
Feb 2013 Hearing those words from a doctor's mouth is completely devastating and immobilizing, often spurring the feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fear and helplessness. Those words are spoken far too often. Every 15 minutes, a child is born with a congenital heart defect (1). Despite the prevalence of congenital heart defects, public awareness and funding for research remains dismal. With a lack of resources and research, parents facing new diagnoses are often left in the dark, with little hope from even the medical community at large. In December of 2010, ten women came together to change that stigma - to offer hope in the midst of darkness.
Feb 2013 Heart and vascular disease (or cardiovascular disease, CVD) are the leading causes of death and disability in the world, despite a large proportion of it being preventable. In the US alone, 82.6 million Americans have some form of CVD. Someone dies from CVD every 33 seconds. More than 40,000 children are born each year with a congenital heart defect.
Jan 2013 Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting humans - the WHO estimates that around 350 million people have diabetes globally. Approximately 10% have type 1 diabetes - a disease that is often diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough of the hormone insulin that keeps blood sugar levels in the normal range. People with type 1 diabetes must frequently take finger prick tests of their blood sugar level and receive multiple daily injections of insulin or wear an implanted insulin pump. While the cause of type 1 diabetes is not fully understood, the immune system plays a major role in causing the damage to the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. There is currently no prevention or cure for type 1 diabetes - but stem cells may be a promising new approach.
Jan 2013 Imagine this scenario. I have a closed box. It contains something very precious! It may change - strike that - it may save your child's life! I will take care of the box for as long as you want, for a fee. You just tell me when you need it. If you decide later that you don't want me to store the box any longer then you can walk away at any time. You might think "this sounds pretty great! But how do I really know that what I am paying for will do what you say? It sure would be better if I had something to give me more confidence". For all its wonderful prospects and demonstrated ability to save the lives of people with blood cancers and other diseases of the bone marrow, this is essentially the conundrum of private cord blood (CB) banking.