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MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
SAVING CORD BLOOD STEM CELLS




Most infants are born healthy and grow up without any incidence of serious disease or disorder. However, parents are aware that at some point a serious illness may strike their child and thus compromising his or her future.

Bone marrow transplantation is a form of therapy for various life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia, cancer, lymphoma, some forms of anemia, sickle cell disease, and severe combined immune deficiency. There are four basic categories of diseases that cord blood transplants have been successful in treating:
  • Malignancies - various forms of leukemia, multiple myeloma, testicular cancer.
  • Hemoglobinopathies and blood disorders - sickle cell anemia, Fanconi's anemia, thalassemia.
  • Immune deficiencies - severe combined immunodeficiency diseases, chronic granulomatous disease.
  • Inborn errors of metabolism - Hurler syndrome, bare-lymphocyte syndrome, Krabbe's disease.





THE 45 DISEASES THAT CAN BE TREATED USING STEM CELLS

MALIGNANCIES

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Burkitt's lymphoma
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia (JCML)
  • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Liposarcoma
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
  • Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML)
  • Refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation (RAEB-t)
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Refractory Hodgkin's disease
  • Retinoblastoma


  • BONE MARROW FAILURE SYNDROMES

  • Severe aplastic anemia
  • Blackfan-Diamond anemia
  • Dyskeratosis congenita
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Myelofibrosis


  • HEMOGLOBINOPATHIES & BLOOD DISORDERS

  • Amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia (AMT)
  • Evans syndrome
  • Kostmann's syndrome
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Cooley's anemia


  • INBORN ERRORS OF METABOLISM

  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Bare lymphocyte syndrome (MHC-II complex)
  • Batten disease (inherited neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis)
  • Familial erythrophagocytic/hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis
  • Gunther disease
  • Hunter syndrome
  • Hurler syndrome
  • Krabbe disease (globoid cell leukodystrophy)
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis
  • Lesch-Nyhan disease
  • Leukocyte adhesion deficiency
  • Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome
  • Osteopetrosis
  • Tay-Sachs disease


  • IMMUNODEFICIENCIES

  • Chronic granulomatous disease
  • Common variable immune deficiency (CVID)
  • Omenn's syndrome
  • Severe combined immune deficiency (SCID and SCID-ADA)
  • Reticular dysgenesis
  • Thymic dysplasia
  • Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
  • X-linked lymphoproliferative disease


  • In addition, cord blood stem cell research is being done for potential future use in the treatment of:

  • Stroke
  • Certain autoimmune disorders (e.g., diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis)
  • Heart Disease
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Neurological disorders (e.g., ALS)
  • Muscular/cartilage diseases


  • More opportunities are being discovered every year but, since each case is different, there is no guarantee that a cord blood transplant will be an appropriate treatment therapy or that it will provide a cure.

    In this process, family members are tested to find a suitable match for the ill patient. Government statistics show that 59 percent of all pregnant women already have one or more children in the family. There is only a one-in-four chance of a match being found in a sibling. Experts believe that sibling cord blood transplants have a greater chance for success than cells from an unrelated donor, and recipients have less chance of developing Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) following a transplant, a potentially fatal complication that occurs when the new tissues attacks the recipient's body. A national search typically helps to find a match through a registry with the National Marrow Donor Program, which has yielded a 30 percent match rate, and in some minority groups, the number of matches are even less. This can prove to be very discouraging for the parents and family of a sick child having to endure lengthy waiting times and ever rising medical expenses.

    Because of problems associated with bone marrow transplantation, alternative sources for transplants are being sought out. When bone marrow cells are harvested, it is not only a very painful procedure that requires an identical match in order to work, it is also a very costly process. Many times insurance coverage is not available to cover costs, or at best can be challenging to collect on for the bills. The entire process is very time consuming and stressful for all parties concerned.

    There are a number of reasons parents may choose to save their child's umbilical cord blood including: a history of predisposition to certain conditions, a child in the family is in need of a stem cell transplantation, and family situations where both genetically-linked parents are not available. Stem cell transplantation is a proven treatment in 45 malignant and non-malignant diseases.





    WHAT IS CORD BLOOD?

    Cord blood is the blood remaining in your newly born baby's umbilical cord and placenta after the cord has been cut. The placenta and the attached cord is usually thrown away after the birth or used for a personal-family ritual purpose by the expectant parents (such as planting a tree on it in the name of the new baby). Cord blood, like bone marrow, is a rich source of stem cells. Cord blood also has the added advantage of being "privileged" or unexposed to most diseases. Previous exposure can make bone marrow from an adult more difficult to use in transplantation. Umbilical cord blood has a number of important advantages over bone marrow. Treatments using umbilical cord stem cells can be less costly than bone marrow transplants. More importantly, there is the fact that they are a perfect match for the child from whom they are collected, thus eliminating the process of a matching donor and the risks of rejection.

    Stem Cells


    Stem cells are the "master cells" and the building blocks of blood and the immune system. They differentiate, or reproduce, into other cells such as red blood cells for carrying oxygen, platelets for blood clotting, white blood cells for fighting infections, and T Cells and B Cells associated with immune system function. Stem cells produced in the bone marrow are valuable in fighting disease because of their ability to regenerate a person's immune system. This is especially valuable if it has been damaged or destroyed by therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation.





    WHAT IS CORD BLOOD STORAGE?

    One of the most recent possibilities that many parents are considering is the ability to have their midwife or health care provider collect cord blood, enriched with life-enhancing stem cells, easily and painlessly from the baby's umbilical cord and placenta at the time of the birth. When the umbilical cord is clamped and cut in the normal manner. Then, as much blood (stem cells) as possible is drawn from the umbilical cord. Approximately 3 to 5 ounces of cord blood are collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born. After the cord blood has been collected, the specimen is then ready to be packaged for shipping (this is usually done by the expectant parents or a family member). The collection kit contains all of the material and instructions needed for the midwife or health care provider to collect the specimen, and for the parents to ship the specimen to the laboratory, so it is very easy. The cord blood stem cells have to be sent within 24-30 hours after the cord is cut to the blood storage facility, where it remains as "an insurance policy" for possible later use.

    Once the cord blood is received in the laboratory, technologists process and test the blood. Maternal blood is tested for hepatitis, HTLV, HIV, CMV and syphilis. In the event any of these screening tests are positive, confirmatory tests, if available and indicated, are automatically performed. Usually an outside laboratory that is CLIA certified and FDA registered performs infectious disease testing. Cord blood samples are tested to confirm the absence of microbiological contamination.

    The cord blood is processed to deplete the red blood cells, isolating the white blood cells and, specifically, the stem cells. Stem cells are quantified using flow cytometry and are then mixed with a cryo-protectant (DMSO) in autologous plasma and stored in special bar-coded cryovials. Long-term preservation takes place in the cord storage facility computer controlled, robotically operated, patented storage system. Some companies offer private processing and storage, which eliminates certain costly tests such HLA typing which must be conducted by companies involved in storage of stem cells for unrelated third parties.

    The decision to store your baby's cord blood has to be made several weeks before the expected delivery date. The cord blood can only be collected at the time of delivery, and many times babies arrive earlier than expected. Therefore, it was very important for you to make this decision well before the birth of your baby. This will allow you to time to discuss this procedure with your midwife or health care provider and make the necessary arrangements for the shipping of the specimen.

    The procedure is painless for the baby and the mother, since it is done after the cord is cut. The costs can range from affordable to costly depending upon the facility you choose for cord blood storage. Compare storage facilities and their costs before settling upon one for your budget. Costs can range from $275 to $1500 for the first year, and an annual storage fee of $50 to $100. The price for the first year covers the processing, testing, collection kit and the first year of storage, and then the annual cost covers storage only.

    Facilities that has a laboratory on site where all processing is done will be less expensive than other facilities that have to send their specimens out to other labs for processing, so they have to charge their clients for this service, which can be very costly.

    The cells are stored in a cryogenic environment, in a state-of-the-art cellular storage system, at extremely low temperatures. At that time, all cellular activity then ceases. If needed in the future for a transplant, the stem cells are thawed, and cellular activity commences.

    So, now the choice is yours to make. It can be costly, but it could save your child's life at some point in the future. Like any "insurance policy" you are paying for the "What If's..." that may or may not happen.

    CORD BLOOD STORAGE LINKS

  • Cryo-Cell, Inc. Cord Blood Preservation
  • Securacell, Inc. Cryogenic Cord Blood Storage
  • Alpha Cord: Network of Umbilical Cord Blood Banks
  • ViaCord Cord Blood Bank
  • California Cryobank - FamilyCord Cord Blood Banking
  • Cord Blood Registry (CBR)
  • Alberta Cord Blood Bank
  • CorCell


  • OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION ABOUT CORD BLOOD PRESERVATION

  • Post-Gazette News: Cord Blood Preservation





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