History of the Value of Cord Blood Storage
To date, approximately 8,000 people worldwide have received medical therapies using the stem cells saved from a newborn’s umbilical cord during cord blood storage. Among the diseases treated: leukemia, breast cancer, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, Aplastic Anemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, various other cancers, blood diseases, hereditary/genetic conditions and immune system disorders.
The process of cord blood storage is very simple – just after the birth of a newborn the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Blood is drawn from the cord and stored in a sterile environment until it can be transferred to a cord blood storage facility. The stem cells from that blood can eventually be utilized (after testing and matching) in rebuilding the blood or immune systems.
Historical Benchmarks in Cord Blood Storage
By participating in cord blood storage you and your child contribute to a rich history of life saving events.
1983 – First proposal of the concept of using umbilical cord blood as an alternative source of stem cells for transplant. The basic function of cord blood stem cells is similar to bone marrow cells, though cord blood cells are viewed as more versatile because a perfect tissue match between donor and recipient is not necessary.
1988 – First successful cord blood transplant to regenerate blood and immune cells in Paris, France, on a six-year old boy suffering from Fanconi’s Anemia, a blood disorder.
1992 – The New York Blood Center established the first cord blood storage facility through funding provided by the National Institutes of Health.
1993 – First cord blood transplant takes place between a donor and recipient not related to one another.
1995 – First family cord blood storage facility opens.
1998 – 12-year old was the first successful transplant patient to benefit from using cord blood storage to cure sickle cell anemia. According to the National Cord Blood Program, one year after transplant, Keone was cured.
2004 – Health and Human Services Appropriations Act for Fiscal year 2004 provides funds to create a national cord blood storage program.
2004 – Illinois becomes first state to enact legislation to mandate that birthing women have the option to donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood storage facility at no cost.
2006 – More than 8,000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide.
Moving Forward in Cord Blood Storage
In just 20 years the medical field has made incredible strides in treating life-threatening diseases, and in the case of cord blood stem cells the advances have been incredible. It is proven to be a safe procedure, and one of low-risk/high reward for the recipients. Stem cell storage continues to be a vital part of these advances and we look forward to what the future brings as more expectant moms opt for cord blood storage.