Nov 30 2011

What about Heparin? Do you use Heparin in your cord blood bags? Is Heparin good or bad?

Posted by Martin Smithmyer

Our two main competitors, Viacord and Cord Blood Registry both promote the fact that they use either Heparin free bags (Viacord) or bags with Heparin (CBR) as a selling point. The forcefulness of the arguments frankly is a bit bewildering to us. Ultimately we conclude that this is a bit of overselling and spin in action. Here is our take:

Viacord claims heparin-free maximizes collection volume and minimizes contamination, while CBR claims that “dry heparin anticoagulant improves our ability to recover every stem cell possible for your child, regardless of the collection volume.” On their website, CBR even cites research conducted by our own Executive Medical Director, Dr. Robert Dracker from 1996 (who was ViaCord’s Medical Director at the time), as support for this. The fact is that a lot has happened since 1996.

Americord does not use Heparin in our cord blood collection bags for a simple reason. It is not approved by the FDA for cord blood collections. We have no idea why CBR has argued so forcefully that it is better, except for the fact that they would have to reverse their long defended position and lose the confidence of their clientele. Americord’s FDA-approved cord blood collection bag uses an anti-coagulant called Citrate Phosphate Dextrose – also known as CPD. The key difference here is that CPD is approved by the FDA for cord blood collection. Heparin is not approved for this use.

– Heparin lacks the preservative needed to maintain viability of cells. (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Oct 2009)
– CPD is less toxic to stem cells than Heparin (Joanne Kurtzberg, 2003)
– Heparin’s effectiveness breaks down after 12 hours. (A.V. Hoffbrand, Daniel Catvosky, Edward G.D. Tuddenham 2005)
– Heparin negatively impacts accuracy of HLA typing. (Eliane Gluckman, Pablo Rubenstein, et al. 2000)

Learn more about how we compare to our competitors here:


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