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Tag Archive: stem cells

  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. How does cord blood banking work?

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    Did you know it only takes a few short minutes to give your child protection that lasts a lifetime? We can collect and safely store your baby’s cord blood and tissue to give you a life’s worth of peace of mind. This is thanks to a simple, painless process laid out in a kit containing all the equipment and advice you need. Here is everything you need to know to answer the question ‘How does cord blood banking work?’

    What is the cord blood collection process?

    The last thing you need, when you’re expecting a child, is a complex extra process to worry about. That’s why we’ve made collecting cord blood so beautifully simple. Our stem cell collection process lets you focus on your new baby at every stage. This is all thanks to an umbilical cord blood Collection Kit that contains everything you need to share with your birth partner. The healthcare professional will use this to collect the cord blood, cord tissue and maternal blood sample.

    To get your kit simply sign up to our service here or ask for a brochure here.

    What does an umbilical cord blood collection kit contain?

    It’s wise to order a Collection Kit as soon as possible after your twenty week scan. This gives you plenty of time to go through the instructions and ask questions. If you, your midwife, phlebotomist or other healthcare professional wants to know more, we’re always delighted to help – just ask them to contact us.

    Our cord blood collection kits are approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). Each one is carefully checked in our lab before being sent out. It contains all this:

    • Exciting education material 
    • Instructions for the other people involved 
    • An umbilical cord blood collection bag
    • A sterile swab and a gauze swab
    • A tube clamp
    • If you need it, a cord collection kit
    • A drape to keep the environment sterile 
    • A maternal blood sample kit
    • A temperature monitoring probe

    Because the kit qualifies as an approved medical device, you shouldn’t open it until you actually need it.

    Please pack your Collection Kit in your hospital bag ready for the birth. You might end up with a different midwife or phlebotomist so make sure you include the instructions and education material. The moment you go into labour your birthing partner should get in touch with the phlebotomist, then keep them informed as labour progresses. 

    When will the umbilical cord blood be collected?

    Your midwife must be 100% happy with your health and your baby’s well-being before they collect the cord tissue and blood. It’s usually done either before or after the placenta has been delivered and the umbilical cord clamped and cut. There’s no need to clamp early. Your partner is still welcome to take part if they want to ceremonially cut the child’s umbilical cord.

    The midwife, doctor or phlebotomist will collect and label your cord blood, cord tissue and maternal blood sample. This will then be sent to our lab in a pre-paid thermally insulated pack.

    How is your baby’s cord blood tested and processed?

    As soon as the samples have been collected and both you and your baby are safe and well, your birthing partner lets our courier know so they can come and collect it. Once everything arrives at our lab we transfer it to a sterile environment. Then we give it a unique barcode before processing it to test for microbiological contamination and checking the concentration of stem cells.

    How does a cord blood bank store stem cells?

    How is cord blood stored? As soon as we know for sure your baby’s stem cells are healthy and plentiful, we store them in tamper-evident bags, labelling them carefully before freezing them. The cord blood banking process itself involves preserving the cells in vapour phase liquid nitrogen in our UK based stem cell banking laboratory. We only remove the cells from storage when they’re needed to help resolve a medical problem for your child or another family member.

    We keep you informed at every stage and contact you when the cord blood and tissue has been successfully stored. You’ll be sent a full set of test results for your records and we’ll also provide a unique cord blood banking storage certificate as proof of safety and security.

    How long can umbilical cord blood be stored?

    It’s up to you. You can choose to bank the tissue and cord blood for either 25 or 50 years, and we also offer an annual storage option.

    Let’s take that wonderful first step!

    For your peace of mind, for your child’s future health, the first step is your decision. Why not explore our website for more insight or get in touch to order your collection kit?

    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.