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Recommended #1 by families and OB/GYNs, Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) is the world’s largest and most experienced newborn stem cell company. As part of our commitment to advancing the clinical applications of newborn stem cells, we have helped over 600 families use their cord blood samples for current and investigational treatments.
Families frequently ask us questions like “How are newborn stem cells used today, and what might they be used for in the future?
Not only are cord blood stem cells used to treat over 80 conditions today in transplant medicine, newborn stem cells are also being researched in over 500 clinical trials to help in regenerative medicine, which aims to restore or establish normal functioning in the body.
For 30+ years, cord blood has been used to help tens of thousands of people worldwide. Cord blood is a source of stem cells that is currently being used in transplant medicine to replace damaged blood and immune systems with healthy cells. It been proven to treat some blood disorders, cancers, immune disorders and metabolic disorders. Meet some CBR families who have preserved and used this special resource for transplant medicine.
Keegan was first diagnosed with leukemia when he was two years old. Over time, he was able to achieve remission through chemotherapy. When Keegan’s mom, Wendy, was pregnant again, she learned about the potential that stem cells could provide her family and decided to bank her second son’s cord blood.
Little did she know, her family would end up needing the cord blood. When Keegan was five years old, he relapsed with leukemia.
This time, the doctors gave him a 50/50 chance for survival. His doctors felt a stem cell transplant may give Keegan a fighting chance. Thankfully, his younger brother was a perfect match. After more therapies and a transplant using his brother’s cord blood, Keegan has remained free of leukemia ever since!
When we last checked in on Keegan, he had graduated high school and received a degree in Political Science from the University of California, Channel Islands. He continued his education at McGeorge School of Law and passed the Bar exam in 2018.
Since then, Keegan has settled in Colorado and is a practicing public defender. He coaches high school mock trials and still works to raise money and awareness in the fight against cancer.
Sasoun was diagnosed with a genetic condition called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome (SCID), which makes it harder for a person’s immune system to function properly. Even small infections, like ear infections, could be fatal.
His doctors explained that Sasoun would need to be isolated from the outside world until his medical team could find a suitable donor for a stem cell transplant to rebuild Sasoun’s immune system.
Sasoun’s parents, Armené and Michael, decided to test their older son, Vaughn, to see if he was a stem cell donor match, since they had preserved his newborn stem cells with CBR. And he was a match!
CBR sent Vaughn’s stem cells from their cryopreservation lab to Sasoun’s treating physician, and Sasoun was given his transplant. Six weeks after receiving the transplant, the doctors monitoring Sasoun’s progress said it was okay for Sasoun to return home.
Today Sasoun lives a much more normal life. Armené and Michael still marvel at how Vaughn’s newborn stem cells were the “spark plug to jump start Sasoun’s recovery.” At CBR, we were delighted we could make the process of transferring big brother Vaughn’s stem cells quick, straightforward and all done with great ease.
Following a normal pregnancy, Carol and Alex Low learned that their newborn son, Dillon, had a diagnosis of Diamond-Blackfan anemia and would require long-term, frequent blood-transfusions.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia is a rare genetic disorder, which prevented Dillon’s bone marrow from producing red blood cells. With frequent hospital visits it took six years, over 6 gallons of donated blood and over one hundred blood transfusions before Dillon found a perfect match in his younger brother, Brody. Finding a match is a key component of these types of medical procedures.
After the Brody’s birth, Dillon was able to have a bone marrow and a cord blood transplant using his brother’s cord blood stem cells stored at CBR. Following chemotherapy, a cord blood and bone marrow transplant, and a lengthy recovery, Dillon has been free of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia for 9 years. Dillon is now living a normal life as a healthy 15-year-old.
At three weeks old, Carol Mulumba was diagnosed with sickle cell disease. By the time Carol was five years old, the pain from her sickle cell anemia had become unbearable. Her doctors told her that she needed a stem cell transplant to repopulate her bone marrow with healthy cells if she was going to survive.
When her mom became pregnant again, Carol’s doctor suggested she speak to CBR about storing her baby’s cord blood. The Mulumbas qualified for CBR’s Newborn Possibilities Program, which provides cord blood processing and five years of storage to families with a newborn or close family member with a qualifying medical need.
In October 2008, Carol was admitted to the hospital for a stem cell transplant from her baby brother’s cord blood and bone marrow. Today she’s sickle cell free and studying microbiology at UCLA!
Besides their use in transplant medicine, newborn stem cells are also being studied in 500+ clinical trials for regenerative medicine uses. Regenerative medicine is an area of science that aims to restore or establish normal function in the body. Basically, it involves repairing damaged cells.
Over 80% of newborn stem cell units released from CBR have been for regenerative medicine clinical trials. Stories from CBR clients Abigail and Grace demonstrate some of the potential future uses of newborn stem cells.
Abigail was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which her doctors suspect was caused by an in-utero stroke. Lucky for the Holeman family, Abigail’s grandfather had gifted each of his grandchildren the incredible gift of newborn stem cell preservation with CBR. Which made it easier for a stem cell match to be available for Abigail’s treatment.
Having those stem cells preserved opened the door to an experimental protocol at Duke University. In July 2018, Abigail received an infusion of her own cord blood. Within just a few weeks after using the stem cells, her physical therapy scores improved dramatically.
Today, Abigail is living her best life with her family, which you can read more about and watch Abigail in action with her family.
Grace was born with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Some types of hearing loss are genetic, but most are caused by environmental factors like infection or premature birth.
Researchers are interested in studying cord blood as a potential treatment for children with SNHL, because the cells in the cord blood may be able to travel to the site of injury in the inner ear and help kick start repair.
Because her parents preserved her newborn stem cells, Grace participated in a clinical trial to see if cord blood stem cells could help treat her hearing loss.
Besides showing that the cord blood infusions were safe and well-tolerated, five out of eleven children who participated in this trial showed improvements on the Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test after their infusion.
CBR is honored to be able to help these families and more, who have used their stem cells to overcome some of life’s biggest obstacles. The greatest hope is that groundbreaking research with cord blood stem cells can help children with serious conditions in a new way. In fact, stem cells saved with CBR are now being accessed by a new family for current and experimental treatments averaging every week. And as the science develops, so do the possibilities.
The use of cord blood is determined by the treating physician and is influenced by many factors, including the patient’s medical condition, the characteristics of the sample, and whether the cord blood should come from the patient or an appropriately matched donor. Cord blood has established uses in transplant medicine; however, its use in regenerative medicine is still being researched. There is no guarantee that potential medical applications being studied in the laboratory or clinical trials will become available.
Cord tissue use is still in early research stages, and there is no guarantee that treatments using cord tissue will be available in the future. Cord tissue is stored whole. Additional processing prior to use will be required to extract and prepare any of the multiple cell types from cryopreserved cord tissue. Cbr Systems, Inc.’s activities for New York State residents are limited to collection of umbilical cord tissue and long-term storage of umbilical cord–derived stem cells. Cbr Systems, Inc.’s possession of a New York State license for such collection and long-term storage does not indicate approval or endorsement of possible future uses or future suitability of these cells.
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