Cord Blood Venture
Americord Registry is offering expectant parents a deal as part of a plan that the Manhattan company believes will boost business as well as contribute to research. If parents sign up to have their newborn’s umbilical cord blood-banked, Americord will pick up the cost of processing in the event the baby suffers a neurological birth injury and the parents later enroll the child in a clinical trial that could help with the injury. The cord blood-banking process costs about $2,000. There currently are at least two ongoing research projects in which investigators hope to use stem cells from such banked blood to repurpose them as brain cells to help repair the damage, said Martin Smithmyer, Americord’s president. “If there were such a traumatic event [during birth], they could also bank the blood immediately,” he said, “but the presumption is that most people would arrange to have it banked ahead of time.” Mr. Smithmyer said the research has touched him personally because a close relative died of ALS, another disease that stem cell researchers are targeting in their quests for cures.