Mesenchymal Stem Cells Arrive at the Forefront of Research

MSCsStem cells are the building blocks of life. So it’s no surprise that a major source of these cells is in the life-giving connection between mother and baby—the umbilical cord. When parents choose to bank their baby’s cord blood, the physician collects the blood remaining in the umbilical cord after birth and discards the umbilical cord tissue. New research is showing, however, that valuable stem cells are not only found in cord blood; they’re also found in the umbilical cord tissue.

Stem cell overview: hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells

Cord blood contains a variety of stem cells, including hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These newborn stem cells can do an array of things, including create and repair the blood and immune systems. Hematopoietic stem cells can be the unsung heroes in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases. HSCs and other stem cells found in cord blood are also being explored as a treatment option in some regenerative therapies, including treatment for Type I diabetes and cerebral palsy.

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Banking Cord Blood – A Look Inside ViaCord Processing Lab

ViaCord Processing LabAmid the hustle, bustle and celebration of your baby’s birth, your doctor collects the cord blood and packs the unit to send to ViaCord. But what happens next? We asked Gail Foertsch, Senior Manager at the ViaCord Processing Laboratory (VPL), to give parents an inside look at how we process your child’s cord blood in our state-of-the-art facility. Here’s what she had to say:

Delivered Safe and Sound
With the help of a private medical courier service specializing in transporting biopharmaceutical materials, collected cord blood units arrive at our AABB-accredited, CLIA-certified, FDA-registered and industry benchmarked facility just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. The first step we take is cross-referencing important information on the cord blood unit, including the mother’s name, ViaCord identification number and time and date of the collection, with our database. This ensures the safety and security of your child’s cord blood right from the start.

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2010 Recap: Cord Blood Research, Viacord and More

2010 Recap!2011 is here; can you believe it? Many positive things happened for cord blood research, ViaCord families and ViaCord in 2010. Let’s take a moment to look back at some of the highlights.

Important cord blood stem cell research paves the way for treatment possibilities

Here is just some of what went on this year:
Progress continued in trials using cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine applications require a patient to use his or her own cord blood stem cells in treatment. As a result a number of ViaCord families have been able to participate in these trials.
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Reinforcement from a ViaCord Mom

RebeccaWhen Julie and Jason heard about a research study re-infusing children with their own cord blood stem cells to help treat cerebral palsy, they were thankful they’d saved their daughter’s just years before. Rebecca was born with a neurological impairment that causes difficulty speaking and using her limbs. Despite having the physical ability to do so, Rebecca’s brain prevents her from executing familiar and learned movements. Although verbal communication may be a challenge for this bright five year old girl, her constant smile, big hugs and love of playing with other kids says it all – Rebecca is one of the happiest, healthiest, and friendliest little girls you could ever meet.

In July 2009 Rebecca received a re-infusion of her own cord blood stem cells in the hopes of improving her condition. Though Julie and Jason have not seen much progress in Rebecca since the re-infusion of her cord blood Read More

Cord Blood Stem Cells Show Promise for Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimers and Cord BloodIt’s estimated Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million people in the United States1— with one person developing the disease every 70 seconds.2  Named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who first reported the condition in 1906, it is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that affects memory and thinking skills. 3  While there is no cure, treatment progress is being made. Recent scientific developments include the exciting potential therapeutic use of cord blood stem cells. To understand how cord blood might be used to treat Alzheimer’s, it’s helpful to know how the disease changes the brain.

Plaques, tangles and inflammation
As we age, most of us will experience changes in the brain called plaques and tangles. Plaques are protein deposits that build up between nerve cells. Tangles are fibers that form within dying brain cells. Though the exact role they play in the disease is unclear, plaques and tangles seem to cause an inflammatory response that prevents neurons from communicating properly, and kills brain cells. More tangles and plaques are found in patients with Alzheimer’s and start in the learning and memory centers of the brain.

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Clinical Trials Offer Hope for Families Affected by Cerebral Palsy and Diabetes

Clinical TrialsToday, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat nearly 80 life-threatening diseases and are offering new hope to families affected by conditions that only years ago had no stem cell treatment options. A couple of the most exciting possibilities of cord blood stem cells lies in clinical trials now being conducted to determine whether a child’s own cord blood stem cells may be used to treat cerebral palsy and Type 1 Diabetes.

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a general term used to describe a group of neurological disorders that appear in early childhood and permanently affect muscle coordination and body movement. It is most often caused by brain injury or Read More