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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.
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?
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.
Nov 2012 Cord blood banking offers all expectant families a rare opportunity to help patients with a number of devastating diseases, whether those patients are within or outside their family. In those families that have a history of medical conditions that may have a genetic component, genetic counseling can help the expectant parents to determine the potential therapeutic value of their baby's cord blood.
Nov 2012 BMT-Talk is an un-moderated mailing list or listserv (TM) hosted by the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR). BMT-Talk functions as a virtual community for stem cell transplant patients and their caregivers. Its members are largely patients who are about to undergo or have undergone a bone marrow transplant (BMT), peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT), or cord blood transplant (CBT). There are also a number of spouses, partners, parents and other family and friends of patients undergoing a transplant. Many members have transplants for leukemia, although there are members who have transplants for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Myelodysplastic Syndromes as well as other non-malignant conditions, such as Aplastic Anemia.
Nov 2012 Regenerative medicine is the science of repairing diseased and damaged cells or tissues. This can be accomplished in two ways. First, stem cells can directly replace the diseased cells by engrafting and differentiating into the required cell type. This is what happens during a bone marrow transplant, where the donor stem cells replace the patient's blood and immune system.