Jul 10 2013

Americord Announces Sibling Cord Blood Reimbursement Policy

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Americord Will Reimburse the Cost of Cord Blood Banking for Parents who use their Cord Blood Stem Cells Banked with Americord for a Sibling

New York – July 10, 2013 – Americord today announced a new policy to reimburse parents who have banked stem cells from their baby’s cord blood with Americord and use the stem cells for a sibling. The reimbursement will be given to parents when their baby’s cord blood stem cells are used for a sibling in a medical therapy or when the cord blood stem cells are used in a clinical trial as long as a medical professional specifies the use of the cord blood stem cells as medically necessary. Americord created this new policy to make it easier for parents to make the decision to use their baby’s stem cells for a sibling in need. Americord is one of only a few major cord blood banks to offer this kind of policy. Umbilical cord blood, which contains stem cells, can only be collected immediately following the birth of a child. It is a precious source of hematopoietic stem cells. These cells can currently be used in the treatment of over 80 diseases and are being researched for many more uses.

When cord blood stem cells are requested for use, HLA typing is done to determine whether or not the recipient will be a match for the cord blood transplant. A successful transplant requires an identical donor match. The odds of a match between siblings is 50%. Americord follows the best practices in cord blood banking and provides clients with a storage method that keeps two integral segments of cord blood as well as a small separate compartment so that it can be HLA typed without disturbing the entire collection. Parents who store their baby’s cord blood stem cells with Americord increase the chances that they would be able to find a match for other family members, including siblings, should stem cells be needed for a cord blood stem cell transplant.

One of the benefits of using cord blood stem cells is that recipients are less likely to contract graft-versus-host disease. A study from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine reported on the successful transplant of cord blood for a sickle cell anemia patient from a sibling who is HLA-identical. They concluded that there is great potential of harvesting cord blood from full siblings of patients with sickle cell disease as full donor engraftment was achieved without graft-versus-host disease.

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