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Tag Archive: stem cell banking

  1. November 15th is World Cord Blood Day

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    The clocks are counting down to World Cord Blood Day 2021, an exciting event made up of an Online Virtual Conference supported by a host of inspiring live events across the globe. It’s open to the public and is recommended for parents as well as healthcare professionals. The strapline says it all: “Even just one conversation could save a life”. So what is World Cord Blood Day all about? Why do we believe it’s such an important event for anyone who’s trying for a baby? Read on to find out…   

    Why do we celebrate World Cord Blood Month? 

    July 2021 marked Cord Blood Awareness Month, a full four weeks of exposure revealing the many thrilling medical advances around umbilical cord blood. 

    Cord blood deserves an awareness month simply because the banking of cord blood isn’t mainstream, despite its medical advantages. Every parent deserves to know exactly how umbilical cord blood can help secure the future health of their children. Every mum and dad appreciates the many benefits of collecting and storing their new born child’s cord blood. 

    We celebrate World Cord Blood Day for the same reasons and this year the event takes place on 15th November.  

    What is Cord Blood Day?

    Cord Blood Day is a worldwide event rich in vital information. You can find an event near you, ask the experts questions after the conference, join in with the Global Virtual Conference taking place on the big day, and enjoy a collection of interactive games and videos

    What is cord blood used for?

    Cord blood stem cells have been used to treats more than 80 diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia. Cord blood stem cells research is also expanding into regenerative medicine. Studies suggest there may be applications for spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, autism, type 1 diabetes and more. This is why we encourage parents to consider collecting and storing cord blood from their new born babies. 

    It’s a simple and easy process, something your birth partner and / or midwife can help you with. Once the cells are stored we can keep them for as long as 50 years. There for your child as they grow and age. You might just be saving your children’s good health for many years to come.  

    World Cord Blood Day was born from a strong need to improve cord blood education. Back in 1998 a cord blood stem cell transplant was carried out by Dr Eliane Gluckman in France. It saved a young boy who was fighting Fanconi Anemia. This inspired doctors around the globe to explore the possibilities of cord blood. So far there have been more than 40,000 cord blood transplants worldwide.  

    Despite all this more than 98% of births around the world still involve throwing cord blood away as medical waste. Parents deserve unbiased information about cord blood so that they can make the best choices, and that’s why World Cord Blood Day is so important. 

    Is cord blood good for the baby?

    In a word, yes. Cord blood is simply the blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta after giving birth. It’s a powerful, non-controversial source of stem cells because it doesn’t involve taking cells from an embryo. The blood is collected after the birth quickly and easily. The collection process comes with no risk to the baby or mother. It has no impact on the process of giving birth, either. 

    Is cord blood better than bone marrow?

    Cord blood is a lot easier to collect, store and access quickly than bone marrow. Using one unit of umbilical cord blood for a stem cell transplant comes with significantly less risk of Graft versus Host Disease. This is always a risk for transplant patients. There seems to be less risk of a relapse for some diseases when cord blood is used. It’s easy to ship, and the stem cells can be made available for use by medical professionals to help your child within days.

    If you’d like to explore the potential for the banking of cord blood, we’re always happy to help with answers to your questions. Alternatively you can order your kit now, download a brochure, or schedule a friendly call with one of our expert team members. 

    Sources:

    stem cell preservation

    BSc (Hons) Microbiology

    Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

    Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.

  2. How do we collect your baby’s stem cells at birth?

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    Are you thinking about banking your new born baby’s umbilical cord blood? Let’s take a look at how stem cells are harvested from cord blood. This is your umbilical cord blood storage guide. 

    How are stem cells collected at birth?

    Cord blood stem cells are collected at birth. While it only takes a few minutes and is a very simple thing to do, the benefits could last for a lifetime. Everything you need to collect your umbilical cord blood is included in our convenient Collection Kit. This includes all the instructions you’ll need to share with your birthing partner as well as the healthcare professional who will actually collect the samples. So, your first task is to order your kit so it’s ready and waiting when you give birth. 

    The cord blood collection process is so easy it lets you focus on the important thing – actually giving birth! Once your midwife is happy with the health of you and your new baby they’ll collect the relevant cord blood and cord tissue, something that can be done either before or after the placenta is delivered and the umbilical cord clamped and cut. You don’t need to do anything differently. You don’t have to clamp the cord any earlier than usual and your partner can still cut the cord if they want to. It’s just like an ordinary birth.  

    The cord blood is removed from the mother’s umbilical cord and the placenta soon after the baby is born. The person nominated to carry out the collection takes 3-5 ounces of blood from the cord and placenta, which contains about a teaspoon of stem cells. The collection process doesn’t cause any harm whatsoever to the mum or the baby. 

    Is it painful to have stem cells harvested from umbilical cord blood?

    In a word, no – you won’t feel a thing, nor will your beautiful new baby. 

    What happens to the umbilical cord blood once it has been harvested?

    All you do is follow the simple instructions in your collection kit. The phlebotomist will take the samples and make them ready for transport to our lab. Once they’ve arrived the samples are taken to a sterile environment and given a unique barcode before being carefully processed. We’ll test the samples for microbiological contamination and make sure the stem cell concentration is high enough. Then they’re stored in tamper-proof evidence bags in a vat of super-sold vapour phase liquid nitrogen, where they can safely remain for either 25 or 50 years – it’s your choice. We’ll send you a Storage Certificate to keep, for your records, and we’ll only take the cells out of storage if your child needs them for treatment. 

    Let’s explore collecting a baby’s stem cells  

    If you’d like to take the first step you can order your kit now, download a brochure, or schedule a friendly call with a member of our expert team.  

    Sources:

  3. Midwives are truly remarkable

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    It’s something that is really important to me because it allows me to do so many things and reach so many people and to help people. I want people to know me as and remember me as a person that helped others, a person who loved others.”

    (https://www.nurses.co.uk/nursing/blog/the-5-things-i-love-most-about-working-in-midwifery/)

    Isn’t that lovely? The philosopher Plato agreed. As he said,

     “The greatest privilege of a human life is to become a midwife to the awakening of the soul in another person.” 

    (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/735649?ref=midwife)

    As you can tell from the quotes above, midwifery is special, just like the people who become midwives. It’s such a joyful career and so varied. A midwife helps people every day. As a midwife you’re a skilled educator, sure. But you also help women understand their bodies and pregnancies better. Through doing so, they feel safer, more confident. This all helps to make childbirth memorable.

    What makes a midwive’s job so special?

    In midwifery, the learning goes both ways. A midwife learns valuable lessons from every woman they take care of. Afte rall, pregnancy is different and every birth is unique. You become part of the family, getting to know the parents, the kids and even their pets. You play a part in bringing a precious new life safely into the world, and by doing so you see the people you care for learn and grow. In a word, it’s a beautiful career.

    Not just mums – midwives see everyone fall in love with their new baby

    You see the love in the dad’s eyes as the child is born and you encounter so many different couples, from traditional to same-sex couples, older to younger, from every country and every walk of life. And you get to help brand new humans emerge into the world safely every day. What could be more magical than that?

    At the same time, as a midwife, you gather an enormous store of expertise, insight and experience, a constant learning curve that keeps your role interesting. It’s about empowering women too, inspiring awe in women’s bodies, helping them understand that they’re amazing.

    As the midwife Barbara Katz Rothman says, “It’s not just the making of babies, but the making of mothers that midwives see as the miracle of birth.” (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/823168?ref=midwife) So what is a midwife’s role in the collection of your baby’s cord blood?

    Does the midwife collect cord for cord blood banking?

    In all cultures, the midwife’s place is on the threshold of life, where intense human emotions, fear, hope, longing, triumph, and incredible physical power-enable a new human being to emerge. Her vocation is unique.” 

    Sheila Kitzinger (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/735649?ref=midwife)

    Your midwife is with you all the way, supporting you throughout the process of giving birth, there to reassure you, inform you, calm you, and make you feel like the hero you are. They don’t actually collect your baby’s cord blood but they’ll be there for you when it happens. So how do you collect cord blood? An experienced phlebotomist collects the cord blood, and they’ll do it quickly and expertly.

    A phlebotomist is specially trained to collect blood samples from patients, often to be examined in a laboratory for the quick diagnosis of all sorts of diseases and conditions. When taking blood they know exactly how to keep the patient safe and happy without disturbing the great job your midwife is doing.

    But what is the role of the midwife during cord blood collection?

    You can have your cord blood collected via a home birth or at hospital. Either way your midwife can easily follow the instructions provided by us when you decide to save cord blood with a specialist bank.

    You’ll want to request your cord blood collection kit during your second or third trimester, at least four weeks before your due date. The kit comes complete with all the equipment needed plus step-by-step directions for clamping the umbilical cord, collecting the cord blood itself, and packing it safely at room termperature for delivery to our laboratory.

    How is cord blood collected?

    What is the cord blood collection procedure? Collecting your baby’s cord blood and tissue only takes a few minutes, and we’ve made it as simple as we can. Your umbilical cord blood Collection Kit contains everything you need, including instructions to share with your birthing partner, the midwife, and the phlebotomist who will collect your cord blood, cord tissue and a sample of your own blood.

    Keep the Collection Kit and instructions with your hospital bag so it’s ready when you are. As soon as you go into labour, contact your phlebotomist and keep them informed about your progress.

    Your midwife plays a crucial role here. Unless they’re totally happy that all’s well with you and your newborn child, they won’t authorise the collection. It’s a very simple process that can be carried out either before or after your placenta has been delivered and the umbilical cord clamped and cut. You don’t need to clamp the cord early, and your partner can still cut the cord, often an important part of the ceremony of birth.

    The phlebotomist will collect and label the samples ready for transport to our laboratory in a special pre-paid thermally insulated package. Once your baby’s cord blood has been collected someone should contact us so we can arrange a courier.

    Once we get them, we transfer your samples to a sterile environment and give them their own unique barcode before processing them, testing for microbiological contamination, and checking the concentration of the stem cells. When our scientists are happy with everything the samples are stored in tamper-evident bags in vapour phase liquid nitrogen.

    The stem cells are only extracted if and when there’s a medical reason, and you can choose to store tissue and cord blood for either 25 or 50 years, giving your child decades of potential protection just in case something goes wrong.

    What should your midwife know about your cord blood birth plan?

    Speak tenderly; let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”

    Mother Teresa (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/823168?ref=midwife)

    Every good midwife will be thrilled to be involved in such an exciting process. Here’s a diagram revealing the collection process steps your midwife will need to understand.

    stem cell preservation

    BSc (Hons) Microbiology

    Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

    Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.

  4. What is stem cell therapy?

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    You’ve probably heard about stem cells in the news, or read about how they’ve helped treat a disease, or a serious injury. But have you wondered how they might help you or a loved one?

    Stem cells offer so much promise, and are considered to be the bedrock of regenerative medicine.

    What are stem cells?

    Stems cells are special human cells that have the ability to develop into many different cell types, from muscle cells to brain cells. In some cases they can also fix damaged tissues.

    Under the right conditions in the body or a laboratory stem cells divide to form more cells called daughter cells.

    These cells become new stem cells (self-renewal) or they become specialised cells (differentiation) with a more specific function, such as blood cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells or bone cells.

    No other cell in the body has the natural ability to generate into new cell types.

    Stem cells in medicine

    Haematopoietic cells (HSCs) are found in bone marrow and new born baby’s umbilical cord blood. These can transform into any type of cell and and are currently being used in stem cell treatments to treat various blood cancers and disorders including:

    • Leukaemia
    • Lymphoma
    • Parkinsons
    • Rheumatoid arthritis. 

    Since stem cells have the ability to turn into various other types of cells, scientists believe that they can be useful for treating and understanding diseases.

    According to the Mayo Clinic1 stem cells can be used to:

    • Grow new cells in a laboratory to replace damaged organs or tissues
    • Correct parts of organs that don’t work properly
    • Research causes of genetic defect in cells
    • Research how diseases occur or why certain cells develop into cancer cells
    • Test new drugs for safety and effectiveness

    How does stem cell therapy work?

    Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, promotes the repair response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives. 

    Stem cells are grown in labs and manipulated to specialise into specific types of cells, such as heart muscle, blood cells or nerve cells.

    These specialised cells can then be planted into a person. For example, if a person has heart disease, the cells could be injected into heart muscle. The healthy transplanted heart muscle cells could then contribute to repairing defective heart muscle.

    References 

    1. Stem cells: What they are and what they do. (Accessed 2019, June 8). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-marrow-transplant/in-depth/stem-cells/art-20048117
    stem cell preservation

    BSc (Hons) Microbiology

    Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

    Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.