Next Biosciences partners with save the cord foundation

By Charis Ober

10 February 2016

Are you thinking about saving your baby’s cord blood but feel you need more information? Consider this. . . It is a fact that cord blood stem cells are currently being used to treat 80+ diseases, including many blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma.  Did you know that cord blood stem cells also show tremendous promise in treating things like cerebral palsy, autism and perinatal stroke? We realise that this sounds too good to be true. And yet, we have met people whose lives have been changed thanks to cord blood.

Save the Cord Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit focused on cord blood education worldwide.  They reach out to parents, the general public, and, of course, the medical community daily to educate them on the latest advances in cord blood use and research. They also help to connect expectant parents with donation programs and/or family cord blood banks worldwide.

Many find it hard to believe that there have been over 35,000 cord blood transplants worldwide since Dr Elain Gluckman performed the first cord blood transplant in France in 1988. Others find it even harder to believe that this natural medical resource thrown away in more than 95% of births (higher in some countries) is something that could help your own child, a member of your own family or perhaps even a stranger.

Once thought of as experimental, cord blood stem cells are now becoming a common source of non-controversial stem cells for many blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma.  Cord blood stem cells are also commonly used to treat sickle cell anaemia. Indeed, this is no longer science fiction. We are talking about more than 35,000 cord blood transplants that have helped both children and adults with various diseases.  It is real, and it has been happening for years. Yet, we are just starting to scratch the surface of what these powerful stem cells can do!

Today, in addition to the 80+ diseases for which cord blood is used, there are numerous clinical trials underway using cord blood to potentially treat things like acquired hearing loss, cerebral palsy, perinatal stroke, autism, HIV and much more.  It is exciting science quickly becoming applicable medicine for the general population.  It is clear that today’s children will grow up to live in a world where cord blood transplants are commonplace, whether to treat life-threatening diseases or serious injuries. We believe firmly that parents need to understand the latest developments in medicine to make good choices for their family today. . . choices that could determine their future. You deserve to know.

At Save the Cord Foundation, they have had the honour of hosting many of today’s great minds in cord blood research:

The list will continue to grow because doctors and scientists see the potential of cord blood stem cells. They are more primitive (thus easier to adapt) than adult stem cells found in bone marrow, for example. The collection of cord blood stem cells does not harm the mother or child since it is done post-birth.  Stem cells from cord blood are a non-controversial source of stem cells (please do not confuse these stem cells with those called “embryonic stem cells” taken from human embryos). Stem cells from cord blood are more resistant to infection and thus have fewer side effects and require fewer transplant drugs than bone marrow.  Cord blood has a broader match potential than bone marrow, meaning that the patient and donor do not have to be a “perfect match.”  Unlike bone marrow, cord blood is readily available when needed if collected and banked properly at birth (see more cord blood facts here).

So why should you save your baby’s cord blood? We can give you 80+ reasons! All you need to do is meet someone like Luke Fryar, Noah Swanson or Dylan Praskins, who a cord blood transplant has helped, and you will see why we consider it such a valuable resource.

Please don’t throw your baby’s cord blood away.  You do have options.  You are creating life.  Feel empowered and be proactive.  Talk with your doctors about either privately banking your baby’s cord blood or participating in innovative programs like the “Families of Hope” CSI Programme at Next Biosciences that helps needy families with a child in need of a stem cell transplant. There is not a wrong choice.  However, if you choose to do nothing, your child’s cord blood will be thrown away. . . simply thrown away as medical waste.

Give life twice. #SAVETHECORD