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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.
Oct 2012 The Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program (UCBCP) is a California state program run by a small team of dedicated people at the University of California Davis Health System located in Sacramento. The UCBCP was created by a law passed in late 2010 that recognized the urgent need for Californians to donate cord blood for public use, to increase the number of units that are available for transplant and especially those that are racially and ethnically diverse. Many Californians and others worldwide are not able to find a match for a bone marrow donor or cord blood unit, because they are of mixed heritage. The only way to fix this problem is to make sure that the National Cord Blood Inventory has units collected from donors that also have unique genetics representing a diverse family background.
Oct 2012 Our clinical trial, listed as ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01019733, was carried out at a University Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico, where we treated children with cerebral palsy that were not able to bank their cord blood. Instead we use stem cells derived from their bone marrow.
Oct 2012 Being able to keep the important stem cells in cord blood and birth tissues alive and stored for a long period of time is the key to the utility of "banking" them for later use. This is achieved by freezing, or cryopreservation, of the cells; but how to effectively accomplish this is a bit more complicated than as if storing leftovers in the kitchen freezer.
Sep 2012 You've just visited the doctor and the good news is that you're going to have a baby and everything looks good. Thirty years ago, your doctor may have given you a baby book and information about products that sponsors want you to buy for your new addition. Today, along with pretty much the same materials, you'll be asked to consider saving the blood of your newborn that's left over in the umbilical cord and placenta after the delivery. Another big decision, and possibly a costly one.