Responses - Stem Cell Collection, Acquisition & Research

Umbilical Cord Blood Banks: Ethical Provision of Stem Cells

Ethical Provision Of Stem Cells 

Bank a New Baby’s Life-Saving Cord Blood – less than 100cc of frozen blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby contains the stem cells that could not only save the life of the baby during his lifetime, but could also save the life of a close family member. [Pioneer Press, 5/23/02]

Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells may be saved in private or public banks.

The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, passed and signed into law in December 2005 has already greatly expanded adult and cord blood stem cell research and patient treatments.

The National Marrow Donor Program maintains a Web page on donating cord blood at http://www.marrow.org/NMDP/cord_blood_bank_list.html, and

International Cord Blood Society  http://www.cordblood.org/public/insights 

 http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/faqs.asp

There are a growing number of cord blood banking and research facilities:

The Cord Blood Donor Fdn www.cordblooddonor.org

The Cord Blood Registrywww.cordblood.com

International Cord Blood Society — www.cordblood.org

National Marrow Donor Program — www.marrow.org 

Bone Marrow Foundationwww.bonemarrow.org

Viacordwww.viacord.com

Coalition of Americans for Ethical Researchwww.stemcellresearch.org **

** This website is not recommending these institutions, but simply making you aware of their existence so that you can do your own research and reach your own conclusions. [This list is provided at this website for your information; as noted above, these institutions are not recommended by this website, but are listed simply to note their existence.]

www.stemcellresearch.org/petition

www.grassfire.net/103/stemcell.asp.

Information to send to your legislators or other individuals can be found at www.stemcellresearch.org.

 

CONGRESS PASSES $300 MILLION+ CORD BLOOD STEM CELL BILL – PRES BUSH SIGNS. The Smith-Stupak bill passed the House 24May by 431-1. On 16-17Dec, Congress passed an amended version of H.R. 2520, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act. On 20Dec, President Bush signed the measure into law (Public Law 109-129).

The subsequent House vote approving the amended bill was 413-yes, 0-no. [NCHLA, E-Mail Memo, 21Dec05]

Umbilical cords are a rich, non-controversial source of stem cells. Currently hospitals throw millions of them away each year because the infrastructure required to properly collect and store them is not available.

This Act will increase the number of cord blood units and cord blood stem cells available for treating patients and research will greatly increase. 

This Act provides a $265 million for life-saving stem cell therapeutic therapy, cord blood and bone marrow treatment.

The legislation authorizes $79 million for the collection of cord blood stem cells with the goal of reaching a total inventory of 150,000 units, making matched stem cells available to treat more than 90% of patients, with a particular focus on providing genetic diversity.

It also reauthorizes the national bone marrow transplant system at $186 million over the next
5 years and combines both systems – cord blood and bone marrow – under a new program to provide an easy, single access point for information for doctors and patients.

The national program would promote stem cell research by requiring participating cord blood banks to donate units that are not suitable for transplant to researchers who are working on new applications for cord blood stem cells. In addition, for the first time, a nationwide stem cell transplantation system would be established.

Thousands have been successfully treated with cord blood stem cells for more than 67 diseases including Leukemia and Sickle Cell Anemia.

"Indeed, one of the best kept secrets in America today is that umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult stem cells are curing people of a myriad of terrible conditions and diseases."  [LifeSiteNews.com, 19/20Dec05; DC]

 

  • BABIES' FOR LIFE FOUNDATION MAY RESOLVE STEM-CELL MORAL DILEMMA – Dr. Gerry Sotomayor, an obstetrician in Tucker GA (and a past member of APFLI) established the Babies for Life Foundation 3/02. The mission of the foundation is "to unite, educate and inform the public" regarding stem cell research, particularly by facilitating the donation of umbilical cord blood which contains a rich source of usable stem cells. Usually thrown out as medical waste, these stem cells can be used as an effective alternative to bone marrow transplants, and for medical research. It’s a "baby's first act of charity", that with parents' permission blood extracted from a newborn's umbilical cord is donated to a public blood bank. Babies for Life Foundation is believed to be the first organization in the nation that facilitates umbilical cord donations not only in Georgia but in other states as well.  "We encourage our donors to put in the baby's book that this is their first act of charity to the world. Teach them young," said Dr. Gerry Sotomayor, who oversees this donation process. "People need to know that their baby can save lives now, and that public cord blood banks are free, available and convenient. It just makes sense from both a faith and moral perspective, as well as a medical one, to donate your child's blood for the public registries." The cord blood, with anywhere from a half million to a million stem cells, is shipped by BFL to the Cryobanks International blood bank in Orlando, Fla. Those units deemed usable after testing are registered with The Caitlin-Raymond International Registry at the University of Massachusetts and other public registries. They are made available for research and for the 500,000 people worldwide needing either stem cell or bone marrow transplants. Currently there are 76,000 units of umbilical cord blood worldwide. According to BFL, umbilical cord stem cell transplants are a less painful and more effective treatment than bone marrow transplants to treat many cancers and various other diseases. Furthermore, cord blood provides an equally effective, more abundant source of stem cells for research than do embryos, without the moral conflict. Embryos, which are human lives, are destroyed to obtain stem cells. [Georgia Bulletin, 6Mar03; BFL Fdn, 1100 Johnson Ferry Rd, Center 2, Suite 195, Atlanta GA 30342-1611; www.babiesforlife.org 404.303.9187]

 

  • BENEFITS OF PUBLIC / PRIVATE UMBILICAL CORD BLOOD BANKS –– When an infant is born, blood from the umbilical cord that would otherwise be discarded contains stem cells that can be frozen and stored, and those cells can be used later for stem cell transplants to treat illnesses such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia. In 2000, about 1,000 infants in the Chicago area had their umbilical cord blood stored in either a public or private bank.

 

  • Public and private cord blood banks differ in several ways. Private banks charged an initial fee and an annual fee to store the blood. With private banks, parents can control how and if the blood will be used, and generally stem cells are only accessed if the child or a family member needs a transplant at a later time. Public cord blood banks harvest and store umbilical cord blood for free, but the blood can then be accessed by any suitable recipient who is in need of it. It is likely that the blood "will still be there" if it is ever needed by the family in the future. The public cord blood bank in Chicago has collected more than 2,000 units of cord blood that are tissue-typed and listed in the National Marrow Donor Program database, so that the stem cells are available for use nationwide by any needy recipient with a tissue match [Condor, Chicago Tribune, 10/28; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 30Oct01]

 

  • First Ever Newborn-to-Mother Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant May Save Mother’s Life — Doctors at one of the nation's leading cancer transplant centers will infuse a little girl's umbilical cord blood stem cells into her mother, who has chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML). More than 1,500 cord blood transplants have been performed world-wide, but never before has cord blood been used for the newborn's mother. The surgery is important because it involves stem cells obtained from an umbilical cord -an important pro-life alternative to obtaining stem cells from killing unborn children.

The family arranged with Cord Blood Registry (TM) to preserve the stem cells that remained in their daughter's umbilical cord after she was born three years ago. Stem cells are the building blocks of the blood and immune system and are used to treat more than 30 types of cancer and blood disorders. The cells have been in storage at the Registry's laboratory in Tucson, which is affiliated with the University of Arizona, and now give the Florida family the best odds for cancer recovery.

Using family banked cord blood has many advantages over stem cells from an unrelated donor – most importantly, the survival rate doubles for patients being treated with related cord blood stem cells. One reason may be because when tissue is matched for a transplant only 6 major HLA proteins are considered. With a relative's stem cells, however, many of the minor HLA proteins are likely to match as well, which may decrease the risk of graft-vs-host disease, an often fatal reaction to transplant.

To date, thirteen Cord Blood Registry families have used their banked newborn's cord blood for transplantation and all have successfully engrafted. Early test results for the pending transplant

reveal that the daughter is a near perfect, 5/6 HLA match for her mother. [Cbr Systems, Inc; May 10, 2001; Infonet]

 

  • STEM CELL RESEARCH ALTERNATIVE COMPANY – a new funding bill, the "Ethical Use of Stem Cells" for research is in Congress. Daniel Richard, CEO of CRYO-CELL International, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCEL), pointed out their core business is the long-term preservation of umbilical cord blood stem cells for the future medical benefit of newborn babies or their siblings.

The cord blood is collected without pain or risk to mother or child since the procedure is done after the cord has been cut. CRYO-CELL's ethical use of stem cells for research is a result of an exclusive agreement with the University of South Florida. Dr. Paul Sanberg, Chair of the Neuroscience Department and the Center for Aging & Brain Repair, recently reported the results of treating laboratory animals using U-Cord ™ derived neural stem cells donated through CRYO-CELL by parents seeking to provide ethical stem cells for research.  

Dr. Sanberg reported significant recovery from stroke and traumatic brain injury using neural cells for transplantation, which had been reprogrammed from the U-Cord cells. These results were presented at the Amer Association for the Advancement of Science and 2 other prestigious medical associations. Mr. Richard highlighted a letter CRYO-CELL sent to President Bush that was also hand delivered to the offices of all members of Congress urging these public officials to use their "power and prestige" to advise expectant parents of the alternatives to having their newborn's umbilical cords discarded as hospital "waste."

Of the 4,000,000 babies born each year in the U.S., 99% of umbilical cords and their cord blood are discarded, according to Bruce Zafran, MD, OB/GYN, who chairs the "Save The Stem Cells" program developed by CRYO-CELL. Zafran called on all hospital administrators to mandate that their personnel advise expectant parents of these alternatives.

Mr. Richard quoted a letter that a retired Major General had written to the Surgeon General, citing a successful treatment of a sickle cell anemia patient and asking that all military hospitals advise service personnel who are expecting a baby of their options to preserve their baby's cord blood stem cells for the future medical benefit of the newborn and/or siblings in the family. [Cryo-Cell International; 13Jun01; Infonet]