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What is Cord Blood Banking

What are the differences between the private cord blood banks and CELVI hybrid cord blood bank?

When you bank your baby’s blood stem cells with CELVI, it will be tissue typed (free of charge) and placed on the Sunflower Fund Stem Cell Registry.  This means that you are willing to be a potential donor for a patient in need of a stem cell transplant.

DescriptionPrivate Cord Blood BanksCELVI Hybrid Cord Blood Bank 
Fees payableYesYes
OwnershipParents/18+ year old ChildParents
Additional testing (Free)NoTissue typing (inherited genetic characteristics)
Registration on Donor RegistryNoRegistered on Sunflower Fund Stem Cell Registry
Use for allogeneic treatment if it is a genetic matchSiblingsSiblingsUnrelated patient from any country in the world
Informed consent required from parent or 18+ year old child, before release for treatmentYesYesYes
Utilisation of stored samples++++
Social responsibility++++
Refund upon donationN/AYes

Cord Blood Stem Cells

The leftover cord blood in the umbilical cord after the baby has been born contains blood forming stem cells, also called blood stem cells or haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).  HSCs are responsible to maintain a healthy blood and immune system and form red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.  HSCs also form more HSCs.

In a stem cell transplant, dead or diseased HSCs are replaced with healthy HSCs to regenerate a healthy blood and immune system.

If the cord blood is not collected for preservation, it is discarded as medical waste.

What is the difference between cord blood and cord tissue?

Cord blood contains blood forming stem cells called haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).  These stem cells have the ability to self-renew and to form specialised cells like red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to regenerate the blood and immune system continuously.

Cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that have the ability to self-renew and to form specialised cells like bone, cartilage, muscle and nerve cells.  These cells are repairing damaged tissues in the body continuously.

What is cord blood?

Cord blood is the remaining blood in the umbilical cord after the baby has been born.  It contains blood forming stem cells (HSCs) and is collected immediately after birth.  It has been used to regenerate healthy blood and immune systems in more than 40 000 cord blood transplants worldwide, saving lives. Research is constantly evolving using cord blood as treatment for diseases that currently have no cure.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the body’s “master cells”, as they have the ability to develop into many different cell types. Stem cells are essentially the building blocks of organ tissues, blood, and the immune system. Stem cells from bone marrow were first used to regenerate blood and immune cells for patients who had received chemotherapy for cancer. In the late 1980s, doctors started using cord blood stem cells to treat diseases that had previously been treated with bone marrow transplantation.

Today, cord blood stem cells are successfully being used to save lives. They also are being researched in an exciting new area of medicine called regenerative medicine, where scientists are studying the use of cord blood stem cells in experimental treatments for conditions like brain injury and acquired hearing loss.

Are cord blood stem cells different from other stem cells?

Yes. Cord blood stem cells are biologically younger and are more flexible compared to adult stem cells from other sources like bone marrow.

When saved, they have unique qualities and advantages:

  • Risk free collection or harvesting of the cord blood and tissue
  • Lower risk of complications like graft-versus-host-disease when used in transplants
  • Less stringent matching requirements
  • Immediately available without any undue delay
  • Preserved and protected against environmental factors and aging
  • Higher proliferation and capability
  • Low risk of viral contamination

Stem cells can heal the body, promote recovery, and offer an enormous amount of therapeutic potential. Cord blood stem cells are not embryonic stem cells and therefore therapies and treatments are not controversial.

How long has cord blood banking been available?

Cord blood stem cells were identified in 1974 and used in the first successful stem cell transplantation in 1988 for the treatment of a six-year-old boy suffering from Fanconi Anaemia, a rare blood disorder resulting in decreased production of all types of blood cells.

The New York Blood Centre opened the first public bank for umbilical cord blood storage, using funding provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 1993, ViaCord was founded as the first private cord blood bank. In the same year (1993), the first cord blood transplant between a donor and recipient not related to one another occurred, first performed at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (USA).

Netcells pioneered cord blood banking in South Africa in 2005 and to-date have stored stem cells for over 15 000 babies.

Celvi, is the first Hybrid Cord Blood Bank in Africa, providing South Africans with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only store their baby’s stem cells, but owning up to their social responsibility by making their stem cells available to patients in need worldwide.

Should I save cord blood for all of my children?

Yes.  Saving the cord blood of each child is important because of each of us have our own genetically unique cells.  Your baby’s own stem cells may be used for a number of diseases, but generally not for inherited genetic conditions.  In those cases, a matched sibling’s cord blood stem cells would be preferred.  Siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match and a 75% chance of being a partial match. Depending on the condition being treated, the transplant doctor will decide whether to use a patient’s own stem cells or a partial or full matched donor, like a sibling.

Can my child use his or her own cord blood stem cells?

Yes.  Your child will always be a 100% match for his or her own cord blood stem cells.  Autologous stem cell transplants (using one’s own stem cells) are performed on diseases like Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, severe aplastic anaemia, myeloma, Ewing’s sarcoma, neuroblastoma, brain tumours and other solid tumours. Depending on the condition being treated, the transplant doctor will decide whether to use a patient’s own stem cells or a partial or full matched donor, like a sibling.

Who can use my baby’s cord blood stem cells?

Siblings are the most likely to be compatible matches, with 25% of these cases offering a perfect match and 75% of a partial match. Biological parents will always be a partial match. It is less likely that other family members will be a match, and there is no guarantee that an adequate stem cell match will be found for any given patient.

Your baby will always be a perfect match to his or her own stem cells and may use them for a number of diseases, however, not generally for inherited genetic conditions. In those cases, a matched sibling’s stem cells would be the first choice.

How likely is it that my family will need to use stem cells?

The use of cord blood has increased significantly in the past 15 years. Based on the most recent data, the likelihood of needing a stem cell transplant in a lifetime of 70 years, from any source is 1 in 217 using your own stem cells or someone else’s.

The potential regenerative therapies using stem cells, which may be developed in the future, is not reflected in the statistics above. Currently, there are more than 30 FDA-regulated clinical trials researching medical uses for cord blood stem cells, including studies for cerebral palsy, brain injury, juvenile diabetes and hearing loss. https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/trials

Is cord blood collection safe?

Cord blood collection is painless and safe for both mother and baby. The cord blood is collected after your baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut and takes about ten minutes to complete.

Are there benefits to storing if my family doesn’t have a history of cancer or disease?

Cancer is a common disease, so it’s no surprise that many families have at least a few members who have had cancer.

Is cancer inheritable?

  • Sometimes, it seems like certain types of cancer run in some families. This might be because family members share certain behaviours or exposures that increase cancer risk, such as smoking and other factors like obesity.
  • In other cases, the cancer is caused by an abnormal gene that is being passed along from generation to generation. Although this is often referred to as inherited cancer, what is inherited is the abnormal gene that can lead to cancer, not the cancer itself. Only about 5% to 10% of all cancers result directly from gene defects (called mutations) inherited from a parent.

Read more about Family Cancer Syndromes at  https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/cancerwise/hereditary-leukemia-syndromes–what-patients-and-their-families-should-know.h00-159300678.html

The benefits of Cord Blood are far reaching:

  • These stem cells might be used by your family for diseases and conditions years from now. Current research has found that cord blood stem cells would be beneficial indefinitely.
  • The use of cord blood has been established in regenerative medicine, where there is constantly evolving research evaluating the ability of stem cells to repair damaged organs and tissues.

Are there risks involved in newborn stem cell treatments?

As is the case with any medical procedure, cord blood stem cell treatments may involve risks, and these risks should be discussed with your doctor. Ultimately, your treating physician will determine the use of your cord blood stem cells.

Why do families choose to collect and store their babies’ cord blood?

Banking may give families a powerful resource against injuries and diseases that can occur in the future. Some of the important reasons to save cord blood include the following:

  • Cord blood is a rich source of blood-forming stem cells, which are used in transplant medicine to treat many life-threatening diseases, such as leukaemia and other cancers. As with other medical procedures, therapies using cord blood may involve risks, which should be discussed with a physician.
  • Cord blood is being evaluated today for its ability to treat cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, acquired hearing loss and juvenile diabetes.
  • Your baby’s cord blood is available for your family if needed for treatment, without the need for painful and potentially time-consuming bone marrow harvest surgery. Early treatment can minimize disease progression.
  • If ever required for a transplant, using your own family’s cord blood instead of an unrelated donor’s can have significant advantages, including fewer complications and improved medical outcomes
  • Having a family history of disease
  • Having a baby of an ethnic minority or mixed ethnicity, in which there is greater difficulty finding stem cell donors
  • Adopting a newborn and wanting a valuable source of stem cells genetically identical to the adopted baby
  • Having an unknown family history

It is important to know that, for certain inherited genetic conditions, the child’s own cord blood may not be used; in those cases, a matched sibling’s stem cells would be the first choice. There is no guarantee that an adequate stem cell match will be found for any given patient.

 

If I move internationally will you ship the sample if I need it?

Yes. CELVI can generally send your family’s sample for treatment anywhere you need it, subject to local regulations. Please contact us so that we can discuss specifics about your family’s situation.

What is HLA matching

HLA matching is a test done before a donor stem cell or organ transplant and is used to determine donor and patient compatibility. In cord blood, it commonly refers to six proteins called human leukocyte antigens (HLA) that appear on the surface of white blood cells and other tissues in the body. They play an important part in the body’s immune response to foreign substances. A transplant will only be performed if there is an acceptable HLA match between the donor and patient. A perfect six out of six match is best. Siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match and a 75% of being a partial match.

“A patient’s best chance of finding a match is with a brother or sister.” -National Marrow Donor Program

If someone in my family needs a transplant could we find a donated sample from a public bank?

Possibly. However, if a patient is in need of a transplant, the physician will look first for a suitable stem cell donor within the patient’s family. Using cord blood from your own family has advantages for treating cancers and blood disorders. Matched cord blood from within your own family can result in fewer complications and improved medical outcomes.

There is no guarantee that an adequate stem cell match will be found in within your family or a donor registry.

Can I donate to a public bank?

There is no public cord blood bank in Africa.  The only way to make your baby’s cord blood stem cells available for potential donation is to register with CELVI, the first hybrid cord blood bank in Africa.

How do I donate my baby’s cord blood to a public bank?

There is no public cord blood bank in Africa.  The only way to make your baby’s cord blood stem cells available for potential donation is to register with CELVI, the first hybrid cord blood bank in Africa.  The cord blood stem cells will be placed on the Sunflower Fund Stem Cell Registry.  Should it be identified as a potential match, you will have the option to donate it or not.

What are the odds of using my Baby’s privately stored cord blood sample for treatment?

In a 2017 publication by Mazonson et al , 1.64 % of 94 803 families reported at least one first-degree member with an indication potentially treatable with an allogeneic stem cell transplant.  4.23 % of 94 803 families reported at least one child with an indication under investigation for treatment with an autologous stem cell infusion.

At CELVI, your baby’s cord blood will be registered on the Sunflower Fund Stem Cell Registry.  This means that your immediate family and/or an unrelated patient in need can potentially use the cord blood for treatment, depending on your consent.  Increasing the utilisation of cord blood in South Africa will provide more options for more patients, fulfilling the value of cord blood.

M-D-05.13 V1 – 2019/09/09

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The treating doctor will determine the use of cord blood for treatment, depending on many factors, including the patient’s medical condition, the quality of the cord blood sample, if the patient’s own cord blood can be used or an adequately matched donor’s cord blood.The use of cord blood has been established in stem cell transplantation and has been used to treat more than 80 diseases. The use of cord blood in regenerative medicine is still being researched and there is no guarantee that treatments being studied in the laboratory, clinical trials, or other experimental treatments will be available in the future.The use of cord tissue stem cells is still in early research stages, and there is no guarantee that treatments using cord tissue stem cells will be available in the future. Cord tissue stem cells are found in the cord tissue which is stored whole. Additional processing will be required to isolate the stem cells from the tissue for use. CELVI (Pty) Ltd outsources all cord blood and tissue processing and storage activities to Next Biosciences in Midrand, South Africa, a licensed and AABB accredited facility.