New Hope for HLHS with Cord Blood

What is Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome?

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a rare, critical birth defect in which the left side of a baby’s heart doesn’t form correctly as it grows during pregnancy. When the left side of the heart is underdeveloped, it restricts normal blood flow to the body and the baby doesn’t get the oxygen within the blood that it needs.

HLHS is usually diagnosed through ultrasounds during pregnancy or after the baby is born. Babies born with HLHS need to undergo multiple open-heart surgeries or have a heart transplant to correct the defect, which is otherwise fatal. Although genetics could be a factor, the exact cause of HLHS is unknown so there is no way to prevent it.

Children with HLHS need medication and special lifelong follow-up care from a cardiologist. They’re also at risk for developing future health complications and may even need a heart transplant later in life if they haven’t had one already.

How Could Cord Blood Help?

Care for children with HLHS has come a long way, and researchers want to continue to improve it. New research studies are exploring how cord blood stem cells may help kids with HLHS. Cord blood contains the same powerful stem cells responsible for the development of organs, blood, tissue, and an immune system during pregnancy. They also have unique qualities able to heal and repair the body.

That’s why many researchers are now using cord blood in regenerative medicine research, in which stem cells have the potential to repair and replace tissue and organs damaged by disease, trauma, or aging.

It only makes sense that researchers want to harness the power and potential of cord blood. The hope is that using cord blood stem cells as a regenerative therapy will become an additional treatment for managing HLHS. This would give them the ability to grow new tissue in underdeveloped parts of the heart and strengthen the muscle to work more efficiently.

Cord Blood Use in HLHS Research Trials

The Mayo Clinic is proud to lead the first U.S. stem cell clinical trials for pediatric congenital heart disease.

They recently released results from a Phase I Clinical Study which determined it’s safe and feasible for children with HLHS to receive an injection of their own cord blood into their heart muscle during their second surgery, which is around 4-6 months of age.

“We want to see if these stem cells will increase the volume and strength of the heart muscle to give it greater durability and power to pump blood throughout the body,”

– Harold Burkhart, M.D., pediatric cardiovascular surgeon, Mayo Clinic Children’s Center

This is a big first step in using cord blood as an alternative therapy for children with HLHS. Read the full results from the Phase I Clinical Study here.

Now a Phase II Clinical Study is underway. This study will further test the safety and take a closer look at the effectiveness of using cord blood to improve heart function in children with HLHS. Researchers are excited about these potential advancements, which may lead to children with HLHS leading longer, healthier lives.



A Study of Intramyocardial Injection of Autologous Umbilical Cord Blood Derived Mononuclear Cells During Surgical Repair of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (AutoCell-S2). (2019, October 31). Retrieved from

Congenital Heart Defects – Facts about Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. (2019, November 12). Retrieved from

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. (2018, August 4). Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic First in U.S. to Test Stem Cells for Cardiac Regeneration in Pediatric Congenital Heart Patients. (n.d.). Retrieved from

For more details and references please visit

2019 World Cord Blood Day

From the moment you discover you’re pregnant, you know you have a lot to prepare for. Even if it’s not your first rodeo, there’s always something new to learn, especially when it comes to your baby’s health. Educating yourself on how to protect your baby’s future health is just another part of the process, and there’s one valuable resource that lives right inside of your baby’s umbilical cord that can help.

A resource for their future health

Cord blood, which is the blood inside your baby’s umbilical cord has powerful stem cells that help your baby develop organs, blood, tissue, and an immune system during pregnancy. After your baby is born, the blood and stem cells can be collected and saved for potential use in future treatments.   

Having this valuable resource at your fingertips is something that a lot of parents-to-be might not know about until now. That’s why November 15th is World Cord Blood Day. It aims to bring awareness to how important storing your baby’s cord blood can be if you ever need it. In celebration of World Cord Blood Day, we’re offering $175 off Cord Blood and Cord Tissue banking. Use Code: WEBNOV175 to enroll online or call 866-668-4895.

What can cord blood stem cells do?

Cord blood stem cells have the unique ability to help rebuild a healthy immune system damaged by disease. Cord blood has been used in transplant medicine for over 30 years and can be used in the treatment of nearly 80 different diseases today.* Over the last few years, cord blood use has expanded beyond transplant medicine into clinical research trials for conditions like autism and brain injuries making this an exciting and perfect time to bank your baby’s cord blood for your family’s potential future use.

Celebrating Cord Blood

In celebration of World Cord Blood Day, let’s take a look back at some important milestones*:

Families Using Cord Blood

Over 450 ViaCord families have used their banked cord blood in transplant medicine or clinical research. As research around this fascinating science continues to grow, more and more families are choosing to bank their baby’s stem cells.

Hear from two ViaCord families who used their stem cells in clinical trials for Autism and Cerebral Palsy:



Waller-Wise, R. (2011). Umbilical cord blood: information for childbirth educators. Retrieved from

About Us. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Kurtzberg, Joanne. “A History of Cord Blood Banking and Transplantation.” Stem Cells Translational Medicine, John Wiley and Sons Inc., May 2017,

Laughlin, Mary J., et al. “Hematopoietic Engraftment and Survival in Adult Recipients of Umbilical-Cord Blood from Unrelated Donors: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 14 June 2001,

Cairo, M S, and J E Wagner. “Placental and/or Umbilical Cord Blood: an Alternative Source of Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Transplantation.” Blood, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Dec. 1997,

Hughes. “Cord Blood Transplantation: Hallmarks of the 20th Century.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Dec. 2000,

“Meet Jesse.” Insception Lifebank,

Couto, Pedro S, et al. “The First Decade of Advanced Cell Therapy Clinical Trials Using Perinatal Cells (2005–2015).” The First Decade of Advanced Cell Therapy Clinical Trials Using Perinatal Cells (2005–2015) | Regenerative Medicine, 15 Nov. 2017,

Harris, David T. “Cord Blood Stem Cells: a Review of Potential Neurological Applications.” Stem Cell Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2008,

Rocha, Vanderson, and Eliane Gluckman. “Improving Outcomes of Cord Blood Transplantation: HLA Matching, Cell Dose and Other Graft‐ and Transplantation‐Related Factors.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 1 Oct. 2009,

“Autologous Cord Blood Stem Cells for Autism – Full Text View.” Full Text View –,

Ballen, Karen K, et al. “Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation: the First 25 Years and Beyond.” Blood, American Society of Hematology, 25 July 2013,

Dawson, Geraldine, et al. “Autologous Cord Blood Infusions Are Safe and Feasible in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of a Single‐Center Phase I Open‐Label Trial.” Stem Cells Journals (AlphaMed Press), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 5 Apr. 2017,

“Assessment of the Safety of Allogeneic Umbilical Cord Blood Infusions in Children With Cerebral Palsy – Full Text View.” Full Text View –,

Moise K Jr. Umbilical cord stem cells. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;106(6):1393-1407 “When Did Banking Cord Blood Start?: Brief History.” BioInformant, 11 Oct. 2018,

“Leadership.” Cleveland Cord Blood,

Carpenter, Kimberly L. H., et al. “White Matter Tract Changes Associated with Clinical Improvement in an Open‐Label Trial Assessing Autologous Umbilical Cord Blood for Treatment of Young Children with Autism.” Stem Cells Journals (AlphaMed Press), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 8 Jan. 2019,

Murias, Michael, et al. “Electrophysiological Biomarkers Predict Clinical Improvement in an Open‐Label Trial Assessing Efficacy of Autologous Umbilical Cord Blood for Treatment of Autism.” Stem Cells Journals (AlphaMed Press), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 1 Aug. 2018,

“Stem Cell Therapy Furthers Research for Infants with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 23 July 2019,

For more details and references please visit

PerkinElmer’s Fourth Annual Impact Day

Volunteers harvested butternut squash, beans, tomatoes &
cherries at Drumlin Farms.

Every year, employees around the globe from ViaCord and its parent company, PerkinElmer, participate in Impact Day. Impact Day focuses on local projects supporting areas of disease research, food, the environment, and newborn health.

Sorting donations at Project
Just Because

Continuing tradition, September 12th marked PerkinElmer’s fourth annual Impact Day. 200 employees from Massachusetts alone contributed over 500 hours of volunteer time for different outreach projects benefiting a range of social causes. Projects included harvesting produce for local food pantries, lending a hand weeding and watering at farms and gardens, sorting donations for families and individuals in need, and helping prepare nutritious meals for homebound individuals and families with chronic illnesses.

“Working at PerkinElmer, throughout the year you hear about the global impact our work has on other people’s lives. But being able to have a day where you can personally give back and make a difference for those in your community is extremely rewarding.”

Building dental kits for Room To Grow which supports low-income mothers & their kids.

PerkinElmer is committed to creating better outcomes in the community by making a difference through volunteering, philanthropy and employee engagement. Employees being able to have the opportunity to participate in this companywide initiative plays an important and critical role in building a strong camaraderie between employees and in advancing the company’s mission.

From September 13-15, participants from 29 countries gathered in Miami Beach for the 2019 Cord Blood Connect international congress to connect on cord blood.

Professionals, doctors, and researchers from across the industry came together to discuss important topics involving cord blood including banking, regenerative medicine, cellular manufacturing, quality control, donor selection, clinical trials, applications, challenges with regulatory, and more. This year it was critical to conference organizers to develop sessions centered around what is important when it comes to cord blood and not make it all about what’s new. To sum it up, conference organizers delivered, and it was well-received.

This year’s highlights included a keynote presentation by Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, who also received the CBA Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Eliane Gluckman, Mathew Farrow, and Joanne Kurtzberg. Also recognized was Anthony Filiano, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Marcus Center for Cellular cures at Duke University, who was presented with the Research Scholar Award. In this year’s President’s Session, Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, discussed issues related to clinical trials, ethics, and regulations. ViaCord’s own Director of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Kate Falcon Girard, RN MSN attended and spoke at the congress as part of a panel on the quality of cord blood inventory and how to maintain and improve it.

It was exciting to have the opportunity to not only attend, but also speak at such a great venue. The congress was a great way to reconnect with colleagues and meet new faces – it’s a thrilling time to be a part of the cord blood industry.

– Kate Falcon Girard, RN MSN

Attendees had the opportunity to partake in various educational and training workshops as well as poster sessions, abstract presentations, and exhibits. Well-known industry names and newer faces networked, celebrating milestones and cutting-edge work being made with cord blood. The enthusiasm from everyone who attended and presented played a key role in making this year’s Cord Blood Connect a success.

Meeting abstracts from the congress can be viewed on Stem Cells Translational Medicine. If you didn’t have the chance to attend and would like to check them out – or if you did attend and can’t wait to see them again – they can be viewed here.

Cancer Awareness Month

September is cancer awareness month, and we want to recognize everyone, big and small, who is fighting strong to beat cancer.

In honor of childhood cancer awareness month, everyone is encouraged to wear gold in support of the American Childhood Cancer Organization’s ‘Go Gold’ campaign, which aims to bring awareness and raise proceeds to help kids battling cancer. With about 15,780 children under the age of 20 in the U.S. being diagnosed with cancer each year1, it’s important more now than ever to help eliminate it.

September is also blood cancer awareness month. Started by Congress in 2010, blood cancer awareness month brings recognition to leukemia and lymphoma. Even though 14,000 people are diagnosed each month with these blood cancers, we are seeing the survival rate grow as science progresses.2

As our way of bringing awareness to cancer this month, we want to share how the healing potential within umbilical cord blood stem cells has made a difference for some families facing cancer. Cord blood stem cells have the unique ability to help rebuild a healthy immune system damaged by disease. They can be used in the treatment of nearly 80 different diseases today, including certain cancers and blood disorders.3

Hear from one ViaCord family how they used cord blood from one of their children to treat Leukemia for another.


  1. (2019, April 5). US Childhood Cancer Statistics. Retrieved from
  2. (2018, November 15). September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Retrieved from
  3. Moise K Jr. Umbilical cord stem cells. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;106(6):1393-1407.

Disclaimer: Banking cord blood does not guarantee that treatment will work and only a doctor can determine when it can be used. Cord tissue stem cells have not been used in treatment yet. Research is ongoing. For more details and references click here.

Knowledge is Power: World Cord Blood Day

At a time when researchers are just beginning to uncover the full potential of cord blood, it’s so important now more than ever to spread awareness and educate others about the amazing power these stem cells hold. Luckily, World Cord Blood Day was created to do just that! Read More