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Too Precious to Waste...
Umbilical Cord Blood SAVE or DONATE

A new baby can save a life within moments of being born. How?

  • The blood left in the umbilical cord can be easily collected immediately after the baby’s umbilical cord is cut.
  • This blood has a very high concentration of stem cells used to treat a number of diseases.

Are umbilical cord blood stem cells routinely used? YES, CORD BLOOD SAVES LIVES

Most commonly, cord blood stem cells are being used to repair diseased or depleted bone marrow resulting from disorders affecting the blood or immune system such as leukemia and lymphoma. In addition, these stem cells have been used following radiation or chemotherapy in cancer treatment to reconstitute the damaged bone marrow.

To date, Cells for Life Cord Blood Bank has released six samples for medical treatment at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, all with successful stem cell engraftment. In five cases children have used their sibling’s samples to treat blood diseases. In one case a four year old boy had his own cord blood infused into him to repair bone marrow damage caused by extensive chemo and radiation therapies used to treat a type of brain tumor (medullablastoma). The parents and transplant physicians were relieved that they had the foresight to store the cord blood for their family’s use. It is important to note that young children with leukemia cannot use their own cord blood to treat themselves, as the disease may have already been present at birth. In these cases, a cord blood sample from a family member or public bank is required.

The chance of a family needing the sample is low and estimates vary. “Statistics at our cord blood bank are 1:6000 based on our transplants versus stored cord blood units” says Dr. Virro, Medical Director at Cells for Life. These odds will change as treatments are developed.

In comparison to stem cells derived from bone marrow, the stem cell count from umbilical cord blood samples is significantly lower and sometimes not high enough to treat an adult patient. This can now be overcome by using double unit transplants, i.e. two cord blood units instead of one. Although research is still on-going, the preliminary data presented is very encouraging. In fact, in North-America during 2012, more cord blood units were used for adults then for children .

Should I save my baby’s cord blood stem cells? YES, TOO PRECIOUS TO WASTE

For over 25 years, cord blood stem cells have been used to treat over 80 different diseases. Since the late 80’s, there have been over 30,000 cord blood transplants conducted worldwide and the future potential of cord blood is still unknown.
Research and clinical trials will continue to seek new ways to treat old diseases. Expectant parents should research the facts and make their own choice.

Public or Private Storage? THE CHOICE IS YOURS

Choosing to store privately with a family bank is a personal choice. Parents say it provides peace of mind knowing cord blood stem cells are readily available for use within their family. Others base their decision on family medical history or ethnic diversity.

Choosing to donate your baby’s cord blood; there are two factors to consider:

i) Does your hospital participate in a public donation program? Ontario has Victoria Angel Public cord blood bank accepting donations at 30 hospitals in the GTA.
ii) You need to qualify - Screening for public donation includes a list of health and risk criteria.

Cord Blood Stem Cells are valuable and provide treatment options for patients in need. Transplant centres will use a suitably matched, quality cord blood sample processed and stored by a cord blood bank that is FACT and AABB accredited and inspected by the appropriate regulatory body, regardless of whether it is a private or public bank.

Cells for Life is an example of an AABB and FACT accredited cord blood bank that offers private (family) cord blood banking to Canadians. Cells for Life is also a strong supporter of public banking. To learn more about cord blood banking visit www.cellsforlife.com.

 

 
 

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