Cord blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following a baby’s birth. It’s a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), currently used to treat 80+ serious medical conditions.
Cord tissue refers to the tissue of the umbilical cord, not the blood it contains. Cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can transform into many different kinds of cells, including organ, muscle, bone, and cartilage cells. MSCs are not currently being used for FDA-approved treatment, but they’re being investigated in over 300 clinical trials worldwide because of their potential to revolutionize medical practice.
Placental tissue is also a rich source of MSCs. Using our proprietary technique, we extract MSCs from the placenta that are a genetic match to the mother and may someday be used therapeutically.
What cord blood processing methods does Americord’s laboratory use?
Cord blood stem cells are manually separated by trained technicians following a modified Rubinstein method with the chemical Hespan. We prefer this method because the entire process can be performed in a “closed” system (a sterile blood bag transfer set), greatly reducing the chances of external contamination while processing.
If your doctor charges for the cord blood collection, Americord will reimburse you for up to $200 of fees that are not covered by your insurance. Please scan your invoice and send it to [email protected] with the mother’s name clearly visible for processing of this request.
Fact: Considering that the cause of most cancers is unknown and that the science of stem cell therapy is expanding rapidly, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact odds that a family will use the cord blood or benefit from new treatments. One scientific study suggests that the odds of having a hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs, the type of stem cell found in cord blood and bone marrow) transplant could rise to as high as 1 in 102 with medical advances and a growing practice of cord blood banking. That is almost 1% of the entire population being treated before the great potential in advances in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is even accounted for.
With no known expiration date for banked stem cells, the odds of a valuable application of these rare cells can only increase.
SOURCE: “Lifetime Probabilities of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in the U.S.” Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, The Official Journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
Presently, none of the public banks are able to release mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from the cord or placental tissue for use. The ability to successfully store and extract these cells has only become feasible comparatively recently and public banks have not caught up with the practice. These cells possess some of the greatest potential for medical treatment advancement, but public banks cannot facilitate their use.
A donation to a public bank means that there is no guarantee your children can get their own stem cells back if they ever have need for a stem cell transplant. 70% of those waiting for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant cannot find a matching donor. And a person who needs stem cell treatments is more likely to have positive, safe results if they receive their own cells or cells from a related donor (ideally a sibling). According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, the one-year survival rate for patients treated with a sibling’s stem cells is approximately 63 percent. With stem cells from an unrelated donor, the survival rate drops to 29 percent. In addition, unrelated stem cells also put the patient at a much greater risk for developing potentially fatal GvHD (20 percent vs. 5 percent).
Multiple studies have shown that more than half of potential cord blood donors are not eligible for public donation. Depending on the public bank, only 5-40% of donations are actually accepted. That means that the valuable resources that are a definitive match for your child are not actually getting to someone in need.
Even if the donated stem cells are accepted, they are prohibitively expensive to use. The average cost of withdrawing a single unit of stem cells from a public cord blood bank is $36,000. With a private bank like Americord, once you pay to bank the cells, you can withdraw them for free at any time.
For those concerned with delayed cord clamping practices, the process of collecting the cord blood is the exact same and entirely compatible. Once the cord is eventually clamped and cut, the remaining blood that did not enter the newborn is collected. No valuable resources are wasted.
What Parents Who Banked Have to Say
“I had a million questions about cord blood banking. The staff at Americord answered them all and even explained complicated things about stem cells in plain language. They also walked me through the different options and payment plans and helped me find the one that was right for me.”
“When I began researching cord blood banks, I wanted to find the one with the highest standards – even if that meant I had to pay more. What a great surprise to find out that I could get the best service and the highest quality at half the price with Americord!”
“We decided to save our baby’s stem cells because it seems like every day there are new treatments for diseases that used to be incurable. We chose Americord because it is constantly investing in innovations in stem cell preservation and it offers cord blood products that are not available from other companies.”
“Given the advances in genetic research and the potential for life saving or possibly advancing technology, I felt it would be an investment in our child’s health to save his cord blood. After shopping around, Americord offers the most value and was extremely customer friendly. This was important to me, being a first time mother. I am recommending Americord to all of my friends.”