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Jun 2016 Worldwide, about 37 million people are living with HIV, including more than 2 million children. A rare subset of the human population possess a natural mutation which prevents the HIV virus from entering their cells. A stem cell transplant from a donor who carries this mutation can provide a functional cure for AIDS patients. However, there are not enough donors who carry the mutation to provide matching transplants for the large and diverse population of AIDS patients. Dr. Walker proposes to use gene editing to create a bank of cord blood stem cells that carry the mutation for HIV protection and can provide life-saving transplants for AIDS patients.
May 2016 Hemafund cord blood bank in Kyiv Ukraine has provided cord blood to help over 360 children who needed surgery shortly after birth. Among them 174 children with complex critical congenital heart defects were saved in the CorDi Program. This program is in collaboration with the Scientific-Practical Medical Center of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery led by Prof. Illya Yemets. The CorDi Program makes it possible to identify children with serious heart defects in utero, arrange to collect their cord blood at birth, and rush the children to surgery supported by cord blood within hours of birth. Hemafund is committed to medical research and public health programs that may improve the lives of families in the Ukraine.
May 2016 Editorial from Kyle Cetrulo of the Perinatal Stem Cell Society: I strongly urge the cord blood banking community to rally behind a proposed bill currently in the US congress call the “Reliable and Effective Growth for Regenerative Health Options that Improve Wellness”, or the REGROW Act. There needs to be a regulatory paradigm shift that allows patients access to autologous cellular therapies. As we stand today, it will be very difficult for a private cord blood banking clients to access treatment to use their own child’s banked cord blood to treat their child’s cerebral palsy in the United States - outside of future clinical trials - unless the regulatory structure changes.
May 2016 Interview with Prof. Joanne Kurtzberg that originally appeared in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot Saturday Supplement 6 April 2016. Reported by Smadar Shir and translated by Tali Pelz.
Apr 2016 To date, most stem cell therapies for autoimmune diseases have been autologous stem cell transplants (AHSCT). Exciting results have been reported from clinical trials for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In most trials, roughly half of patients who receive AHSCT for MS see the disease progression stop. Transplant response is better for patients who have a shorter history of illness, with some reporting dramatic improvements. Today, the majority of patients in cell trials for autoimmune diseases receive infusions of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Therapy with MSC enables MS patients to have improved disability scores without undergoing chemotherapy.
Apr 2016 We are collaborating on a project to compile all cell therapy clinical trials registered worldwide from 2011 through 2015. In this article we have prepared two figures to illustrate the importance of cell therapy clinical trials for autoimmune diseases and the variety of cell types currently in clinical trials for these diagnoses.
Apr 2016 Hepsi Zsoldos received the world's first cord blood transplant for the auto-immune disease Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her sister Carolyn tells Hepsi's story and appeals to expectant mothers to donate their cord blood, because "The ripples you make with even one donation can affect people in ways you could never imagine."
Mar 2016 Miller Insurance Services LLP has launched a new international insurance policy designed to give parents who are banking cord blood additional peace of mind that treatment can be affordable. The insurance covers the cost of a stem-cell transplant, related medical expenses, and certain related non-medical expenses. The policy covers the expected child(ren) for whom the parents are banking cord blood. Extensions of coverage can be purchased to cover transplants of additional family or to cover the child for a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Mar 2016 The world's first clinical trial for cerebral palsy in Australia has launched. Cerebral palsy is the most common disability of childhood in Australia. Now therapy is available with cord blood stem cells from a sibling who is a perfect match. This trial is jointly sponsored by the family cord blood bank Cell Care, and the patient advocacy charity Cerebral Palsy Alliance. This is the first trial in Australia but the second worldwide designed to treat cerebral palsy patients with sibling cord blood.
Feb 2016 Carl Fox was a North Carolina Superior Court Judge in spring 2015 when he learned that he needed a stem cell transplant from a donor. But none of the 13.5 million people on the US national registry of adult donors was a match. Thus began the "Save The Fox" campaign of running donor drives. It is a classic story of a community coming together, and also of a devoted nurse who would not take no for an answer. Today Judge Fox is recovering from a double cord blood transplant, but Save The Fox continues to register more donors, especially African Americans who have the hardest time finding a match.