Apr 19 2011

4 Straight Facts About Cord Blood ViaCord / ViaCell and Cord Blood Registry Won’t Tell You

Posted by Martin Smithmyer

(1) Cord blood cannot be used if the donor (baby) contains the same genetic illness as the recipient. Most cord blood banks glaze over this but it is important to understand that the odds of using cord blood for the same child are much lower than the odds of using them for a sibling.

(2) Cord blood generally only may be used on average for children up to about 65 pounds because there simply aren’t enough stem cells on average in one unit of cord blood to treat an adult. There are rare exceptions to this but the procedure is not recommended since there is dramatically reduced survival rate.

(3) The American Pediatric Association in 2008 recommended that physicians recommend that cord blood be donated instead of saved privately for family families. One of the major proponents for this was Joanne Kurtzberg, who profited from this by getting funding for her public cord blood bank at Duke University. She has since started her own private cord blood bank after doing more research on Cerebral Palsy. Interesting.

(4) ViaCord/ViaCell is owned by a company called Perkin Elmer that collects, uses and sells genetic data. There is an interesting privacy question in there somewhere. Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is pretty much hated by doctors because they make ridiculous claims (and have been the target of the US government for false claims along with ViaCord/ViaCell). For example, CBR claims the highest published cell recovery rate in the industry, but they only looked at about three best samples. You generally need over 200 or so for any kind of statistical significance. The analogy is that you flip a coin 3 times and get heads 3 times and publish a paper that says that you have 100% hit rate for heads. It is laughable.

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