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Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Preservation

Information for umbilical cord blood stem cell preservation

1 - why save umbilical cord blood?
2 - are there any risks involved to the mother or child during collection?
3 - is the method of transportation important in getting the cord blood to the processing facility?
4 - what is the difference between a public umbilical cord blood bank and a private umbilical cord blood bank like corcell
5 - are there different methods of collecting cord blood?
6 - how should private cord blood banks process and store the umbilical cord blood stem cells?
7 - what should I know about private cord blood banks?
8 - why is testing the cord blood important?
9 - what diseases are commonly treated with umbilical cord blood?
10 - is there any risk to the cord blood if there is a power outage or system failure at the storage facility?
11 - how do I know whether or not my baby's blood is being stored properly?
12 - why is there a wide difference in costs between the various cord blood banks?
13 - what is the difference between cord blood banking and stem cell research on human embryos?

1 - why save umbilical cord blood?
Umbilical cord blood is an irreplaceable source of stem cells, like those found in bone marrow, which cannot be duplicates or created by artificial means. Cord blood contains the most potent supply of these life giving stem cells and may be used by your family to fight a host of deadly diseases.
While most children will live long and healthy lives, the birth of the child is the only opportunity, your only chance, to possibly protect that child, or a sibling, or other family member against life threatening diseases far into the future.
When making the decision to give the gift of cord blood banking to your family member or loved one, you want to choose a partner you can trust, a partner like corcell. If you are ready to give the gift that comes along once in a lifetime, let us help you get started.
Some people may consider saving their baby’s cord blood as “biological insurance” for their family. If you preserve your baby's cord blood with an umbilical cord blood banking service like corcell, doctors may be able to use those stem cells to help fight diseases in the donor, as well as siblings and parents. While there are no guarantees, in a worldwide review of cord blood stem cell transplants in which the recipient was the donor's mother, sibling, or cousin, nearly three-quarters reached one-year survival. This is a significant increase in the survival rate for recipients from unrelated donors. Again, you see how important umbilical cord blood banking can be. As doctors learn more they may be able to take even more advantage of cord blood kept with umbilical cord blood banking services.

2 - are there any risks involved to the mother or child during collection?
No. There is absolutely no risk to the mother or the baby. After the birth of the child, the doctor will simply clamp and cut the baby’s umbilical cord. The blood remaining in the umbilical cord will then be harvested into the collection bag supplied in the corcell collection kit. Because this is done after childbirth, it is entirely painless to the baby and the mother. Also, collection in no way interferes with the immediate post-partum bonding between mother and child. The total collection time is less than 5 minutes and is neither impeded nor complicated by cesarean or natural childbirth.

3 - is the method of transportation important in getting the cord blood to the processing facility?
Yes. The transportation of your baby’s umbilical cord blood to the processing and storage facility is a vital step of the process. Due to time and temperature sensitivity, it is vital that the cord blood is shipped by a medical courier who understands the need to preserve the integrity of your shipment and protect the collection from extreme temperatures. A medical courier such as corcell's partner, airnet can customize a transportation solution to meet your individual needs using coast-to-coast transport on their existing air network, next-flight-out via airnet system flights, commercial airline, ground transportation, dedicated aircraft charter or any combination of options. Further, a medical courier has expertise in classification, packing requirements and documentation. It is important that your courier is trained to comply with the regulations of dot, faa, rspa, icao and iata. You should also verify that you courier is a member of the american association of blood banks (aabb).

4 - what is the difference between a public umbilical cord blood bank and a private umbilical cord blood bank?
Public cord blood banks have been established to further the research of the medical treatments of umbilical cord blood stem cells and for use in transplants of non-relatives (the general public). If you donate your baby's umbilical cord blood to a public blood bank, they do not provide a link between your baby and your baby's cord blood unit. If you wanted to access your own child’s blood in the future, you would not be assured access to that particular blood should you, your child, or another family member someday need it. When you save your baby's umbilical cord blood with a private cord blood bank, no one else is entitled to access and utilize that cord blood without your permission.

5 - are there different methods of collecting cord blood?
In order to maximize the collection, the procedure must be simple, safe and efficient for the healthcare provider to perform. The more steps involved the greater the chance of a low volume of blood to be collected along with the chance of bacterial contamination, time taken away from patient care, or plain old mistakes or mishaps. A procedure that requires steps to add anticoagulant or changing syringes midstream can become not only contaminated but also a “manipulation nightmare”. An effective collection method, a bag/drip, gravity method is more user friendly and will provide a higher volume of blood. While a high volume of blood does not always guarantee a high stem cell count, collecting a large amount of blood may increase the likelihood of obtaining more stem cells. A larger number of stem cells is important, as it will provide a better transplant. A closed-system bag provides the least chance of contamination. It makes sense to use a closed-bag system as it is the way the fda regulates public cord blood banks.


6 - how should private cord blood banks process and store the umbilical cord blood stem cells?
Our processing facility is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive cord blood specimens and process each collection. After processing, each collection is housed in a metal sleeve that aids in the freezing and protection of your baby’s stem cells. Each collection is stored in a 25cc multiple compartment bag. Blood separation protocols have been validated as a contamination-free, high yielding retrieval process, good manufacturing practices (gmp), and as a transplant physician-preferred stem cell processing method. All corcell cord blood samples are tested for bacterial contamination, total nucleated cells, cd34+ and cell viability counts both before and after processing. Cord blood stem cells are cryopreserved in 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (dmso), and quarantined in vapor phase of liquid nitrogen while awaiting confirmation of infectious disease testing. (mother's blood is tested for all infectious disease as required by the fda, aabb and state licensure.) upon confirmation the unit is transferred to long term storage in liquid nitrogen at a regulated temperature. Liquid nitrogen containers are equipped with a 24 hour monitored alarm device, internal and external to the storage facility, and includes a backup energy system. Labeling of samples includes identifier code, mother's name, date of storage, and assigned inventory number. Written standard operating procedures are in place for the proper identification of samples, and for collection, processing, storage and transplantation.

7 – what should I know about private cord blood banks?
When investigating cord blood banks, there are several questions which will help you determine which private cord blood banks utilize best practices. You should make all of the following inquiries when considering a private cord blood bank:
how much umbilical cord blood is usually collected? (corcell collects on average 80-100cc.) what is the final volume of cord blood stored? (corcell stores 25cc's in a multi-compartment cryobag.) is the cord blood processing and storage facility licensed (and are they licensed in all of the required states) and are they aabb accredited? (corcell's stem cell bank is all of these.)
do they conduct cord blood stem cell counts pre- and post-processing? (corcell does.) what contamination and infectious disease tests do they perform on the umbilical cord blood? (corcell performs infectious disease testing, total nucleated and cd34+ counts - both before and after processing, sterility testing, and viability cell counts.) do they perform these tests on every umbilical cord blood collection they process or only collections received from certain states? (corcell performs these tests on every collection.)
how many units have been used in successful cord blood transplants utilizing their current processing technique and facility?

8 - why is testing the cord blood important?
It is the transplant physician who needs to know the cord blood has been tested for infectious diseases, stem cell count, viability, etc. Why? The transplant physician will need to know that information before transplanting cord blood into an ill patient. Hla-typing should not be performed until the stem cells are needed for a transplant, you can have the baby's blood hla-typed then. Until that time, let your collection remain protected, anonymous and untyped. This will mainly add to the collection’s security.

9 - what diseases are commonly treated with umbilical cord blood?
Currently, cord blood is being used to treat malignant diseases such as leukemia (cancer of the blood), lymphoma (cancer that begins in the lymphatic system), neuroblastoma (an early childhood cancer that originates in the adrenal gland), and numerous other types of cancer. It is also being used to treat non-malignant diseases such as aplastic anemia (when blood is deficient in healthy red blood cells), thalassemia (a blood condition that interferes with hemoglobin production), congenital cytopenia (a blood cell deficiency), hunter syndrome (interferes with the body’s ability to break down a toxic complex carbohydrate), osteopetrosis (bone abnormalities such as brittle bones), severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome (a rare congenital syndrome resulting in frequent infections), sickle cell anemia (rapid breakdown of red blood cells so oxygen does not get to the body's organs), wiskott aldrich syndrome (defects in the immune system that cause recurrent infections), and many others. While these are known diseases which cord blood is being used to treat, medical professionals are hopeful, regarding the future treatment possibilities of umbilical cord blood stem cells. For a listing of both current and future applications, see diseases treated with stem cells.

10 - is there any risk to the cord blood if there is a power outage or system failure at the storage facility?
cord blood specimens are stored in liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen does not require an electrical system to keep it cold because the cooling is generated by liquid nitrogen alone. Many parents are afraid that if there is a system failure the cord blood specimens will thaw because they are under a false impression that liquid nitrogen requires electricity, like an air conditioning unit, for circulation through cooling coils to lower the temperature. This is not the case with cord blood specimens. The liquid nitrogen maintains its temperature at -196° c without any additional system to maintain it at that temperature. As long as there is liquid nitrogen in the tank the temperature will not increase.
storage tanks are monitored by a system which tracks the level of liquid nitrogen. Experiments with empty tanks demonstrate that, depending on the size of the tanks, the liquid nitrogen is sufficient for 6 to 13 days of cooling without any additional liquid nitrogen. Our tanks are constructed with a vacuum between the outer and inner walls and significant layers of insulation constructed to radiate heat away from the storage tank. This construction is why the temperature in the tank can be maintained at -196° c while the room temperature is 72° f. In simplistic terms, storage tanks are similar to a large thermos except they are constructed to be 10,000 times more efficient. storage tanks are monitored on a 24/7 basis by this system and also by visual inspection, following established protocols that are approved by state regulators and the american association of blood banks. If there is a system failure, such as a power outage, the temperature is not affected in any way (as explained above) and the monitoring system has a back up electrical system to support its monitoring function until electricity is restored.
Note that some cord blood banks use a different type of tank which requires a permanent electrical supply. The shape of these tanks require the constant operation of a sprinkler system for the liquid nitrogen in order to cool the upper portion of the tank to the same temperature as the lower portion. An electric pump siphons nitrogen from the bottom reservoir and sprinkles it from the top to all samples. If there is a power failure the liquid nitrogen is not able to be siphoned from the bottom and sprinkled over the cord blood specimens from the top. A loss in electrical power would mean that the liquid nitrogen cannot be siphoned from the bottom to cool cord blood specimens in the upper portion of the tank, raising the temperature of the cord blood specimens stored in this area.
Another disadvantage of that storage system is the robotic arm which places and removes cord blood specimens in the tank. The position of the specimen is tracked simply by rotating the interior specimen holders to a particular angle. This mechanism must work exactly at temperatures of -196° c for decades. If the exact angle is not found by the system the robotic arm will withdraw an incorrect sample.

11 - how do I know whether or not my baby's blood is being stored properly?
It is important that your baby's blood is stored in a bank that has a positive history of conducting business and one whose specimens have been successfully used in transplant operations. It is vital that they engage in sound and ethical business practices and maintain all required regulatory licenses and certificates of accreditation. The fda does not regulate private cord blood banking but they do regulate blood banking. By selecting a facility that is also a blood center, you know they are required to follow all fda regulations and good manufacturing practices (gmp) guidelines. For immediate response capabilities, they are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive and process cord blood specimens. Further, their separation protocols should be validated as a contamination-free, high yielding retrieval process and be a transplant physician-preferred stem cell processing method. All cord blood samples should be tested for bacterial contamination, total nucleated, cd34+ and viability cell counts. Further, the mother's blood should be tested for all infectious disease as required by the aabb, facht and state licensure. In addition storing the cord blood in a multi-compartment bag will provide for the potential of more than one use when expansion technology becomes commonplace.
Long term storage should be in liquid nitrogen at regulated temperatures and the liquid nitrogen containers should be equipped with a 24 hour monitored alarm device, internal and external to the storage facility, and include a backup system. The labeling of samples should include an identifier code, mother's name, date of storage, and assigned inventory number. Finally, written standard operating procedures should be in place, for the proper identification of samples, and for collection, processing, storage and transplantation.

12 - why is there a wide difference in costs between the various cord blood banks?
There are several reasons for the differences in costs between various private cord blood banks. First, not all private cord blood banks include the costs for shipping in their pricing and if it is not included, you should plan on adding at least another $150+ to the price they are giving you. Secondly, not all private cord blood banks are licensed and accredited, and therefore there is no guarantee that the same level of service is being provided and no guarantee that the proper precautions are being taken with your cord blood. Finally, some private cord blood banks do not take as many steps to verify that the blood is being collected, processed, then stored using the methods most preferred and found to be most usable by transplant physicians. In short, there is a variation in costs because there are variations in quality. Make sure you ask a private cord blood bank about their collection, processing, and storage procedures before making your decision. And don't forget to ask about any extra fees.
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replied September 22nd, 2009
Cord Blood Banking
You have incorporated all the information that comes to our mind while thinking about cord blood preservation. This article has cleared all the doubts I had in my mind regarding cord blood storage. I would be thankful to you if you tell me which organization I should look forward for cord blood banking as I want to do this for my sisterâspam�s baby. She is 7 months pregnant.
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replied September 25th, 2009
Cord Blood Banking
Umbilical cord preservation is really a great thing to do for your baby. This will save your baby from any life-threatening disease in future. It is an easy and painless process. The umbilical cord is extracted 5 minutes after the birth of a baby. I strongly encourage banking your child's cord blood. If you absolutely can't afford to do that, I'd recommend donating it.
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replied March 13th, 2015
Storing stem cells through umbilical cord is really a great idea as it is helpful in treating your kids in future.There is no expiry date as it is stored There is no expiry date and can be benefited from a lifetime and can be benefit for lifetime.
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