July is Cord Blood Awareness Month. In the simplest of terms, cord blood is found in the blood vessels of the placenta and the umbilical cord and collected after a baby is born and after the umbilical cord is cut.
The benefits of cord blood transplantation are many, according to the Human Cord Blood Stem Cell Core Laboratory at Augusta University:
- Can be stored for personal use (biological insurance) or donated for others to use
- Important for ethnic minorities for whom bone marrow donors are difficult to locate
- Less risk of infectious disease contamination
- Less stringent HLA-matching required for use in transplantation
- Fewer side-effects after transplantation
Cord blood transplantation can be used in the treatment of leukemia and other blood disorders, sickle cell disease, bone marrow failure diseases, immune deficiency diseases, neuroblastoma and more.
“Cord blood is useful because it is a source of stem cells that form into blood cells. Cord blood can be used for transplantation in people who need regeneration, that is, ‘regrowth,’ of these blood-forming cells,” says Keith Wonnacott, Ph.D., chief of the Cellular Therapies Branch in FDA’s Office of Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies. “For instance, in many cancer patients, the disease is found in the blood cells. Chemotherapy treatment of these patients kills both cancer cells and the healthy blood-forming stem cells. Transplanted stem cells from cord blood can help regrow the healthy blood cells after the chemotherapy.” – USFDA website
Cord blood and stem cell research are often in the news and sometimes even the subject of serious debate. Are you a journalist looking to cover Cord Blood Awareness Month, or do you have questions for ongoing stories? That’s where our experts can help.
Dr. Jatinder Bhatia is an expert on infant nutrition, neonatology, and ECMO for the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Dr. Bhatia is available to speak with media regarding cord blood, its uses and the research behind it – simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.
Jatinder Bhatia Chief of Neonatology
Dr. Jatinder Bhatia is an expert on infant nutrition, neonatology, and ECMO for the Medical College of Georgia.