September 23rd is Stem Cell Awareness Day!

sa dayFor the millions of people around the world who suffer from incurable diseases and injury, Stem Cell Awareness Day is a day to celebrate the scientific advances made to-date and be hopeful of what is yet to come, according to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) . And we’d have to say, we agree.

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood have been used in nearly 13,000 transplants worldwide during the last 20 years to treat nearly 80 diseases in adults and children. They are showing encouraging results in research for regenerative medicine, including treatment for diabetes and various forms of brain injury, such as cerebral palsy.

Despite all the great news about cord blood stem cells and the hope that they provide for the future, there still exists a critical education gap. According to a study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine  nearly 75% of expectant mothers in the study considered themselves “minimally informed” when it comes to cord blood banking.

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My Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

70_computer_coffee mugI woke up this morning, tired from a busy weekend and hoping it could last just one more day. My sleepy self with coffee in hand, started in on the daily grind to find this message from a ViaCord client in my inbox. I can’t thank Laura J. enough for taking the time to share her “why we banked” story with us.

From Laura J…

“My husband and I chose to bank our daughter’s cord blood after we saw a heartbreaking flyer bearing the story of a young college student desperate for the funds needed to receive a life-saving stem cell transplant. The young woman didn’t only need a matching donor- she needed $250,000 for the medical procedures. We are young and don’t have much, but we knew this investment wouldn’t be wasted. We made the sacrifices to bank Evelyn’s cord blood because it is a priceless investment in our daughter’s health. Read More

The Promise of Stem Cell Research: A Podcast

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Click Image to Listen Now

If you want to learn more about how researchers are using stem cells to advance human health, here is a great opportunity. Recently, Dan Marshak, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of PerkinElmer, was interviewed for an installment in the podcast series: The Better Chronicles .  Dr. Marshak is an expert on stem cells, and in this brief podcast, he talks about how stem cells are helping researchers uncover new ways to discover and identify pharmaceutical agents and determine their safety and efficacy in the treatment of disease. In particular, Dr. Marshak talks about research being conducted at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute , which may ultimately provide treatment options for spinal muscular atrophy, a debilitating disease which can leave infants and children without any motor control of their limbs.

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CNN report: stem cells provide hope for damaged hearts

75_red-blood-cells-in-veinCNN  is reporting promising results from studies that use adult stem cells to treat heart disease and damage. Early results from the largest stem cell study for heart disease in the U.S. indicate that adult stem cells, when injected directly into the heart muscle, have been capable of growing new blood vessels.

The cardiologist Dr. Douglas Losordo, who leads the clinical trial injecting adult stem cells directly into heart muscle, believes that if the trial continues to perform as well as expected, it’s possible that new treatment could be widely available in a little over four years for end-stage cardiac patients who have tried all other available therapies. It is estimated that there may be between 300,000 – 900,000 end-stage cardiac patients who may be helped.

In the CNN article, Dr. Jeffrey Karp, who runs a stem cell biology lab at Harvard University, cites that the major focus of stem cell research in cardiology has been in promoting regeneration-using stem cells to help the body repair and regrow damaged cells and tissues.

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Reason #14,834 to be on Facebook: Baby Shower Planning

babyshower_banner1If you’re on Facebook already, you know that it’s an easy way to connect with family and friends quickly, easily and with a bit of fun. Now, ViaCord helps you leverage the power of Facebook to celebrate the impending birth of a new baby by introducing a Facebook application, the ViaCord Baby Shower Planner.

Whether you are planning a baby shower or simply attending, the ViaCord Baby Shower Planner makes it easy to be part of the big event-from advanced planning to post-celebration. Connect with guests to share shower details, manage RSVPs, and post priceless photos and videos. Because the ViaCord Baby Shower Planner is built on the hugely popular Facebook platform, it’s simple to communicate, organize, connect and share-and get everyone involved in the process! Read More

Lillian's Story: Cerebral Palsy treated with Cord Blood

lillianbarclaySurprises. They come in all shapes in sizes. Some are welcome with open arms, and others, well, not so much. Today’s blog post is about one family’s remarkable journey – one filled with surprises – and their perseverance in handling whatever came their way.

For Kahla and Brandon, it all started when Kahla was six months pregnant. She was driving when out of nowhere, an 18-wheeler plowed into her car and broke her pelvis, sacrum and the bones in her thigh and leg. Miraculously, Mom and baby survived the crash.

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