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? Frequently
asked
questions

Why should I save my child's stem cells? Show all Hide all

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    Is it worth it to save my baby’s stem cells?
    Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are currently used to treat more than 70 blood and blood-related diseases. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been implicated in regenerative medicine, with the end goal to replace, repair or regenerate living functional cells or tissues. Stem cells are actively being researched for the treatment of numerous diseases, like cerebral palsy, type 1 diabetes, brain disorders, heart conditions, auto-immune disorders, liver disorders, neurological diseases and others.
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    Why should I save my baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells if there are alternatives to cord blood banking?
    There are other alternatives to cord blood banking, such as stem cells collected from bone marrow and by peripheral blood. However, stem cells from the umbilical cord blood have numerous advantages: they are the youngest and most effective stem cells that can be found in the human body and relatively unaffected by diseases; the procedure to collect them is non-invasive and they are immediately available.
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    Why should I bother saving stem cells at birth if scientists can create pluripotent stem cells?
    Creation of so-called “Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPS) from a patient’s own tissues is a useful laboratory research tool in its early stages, to help understand a disease in that patient. For example, it may be possible in the future to use IPS to develop drugs against a specific disease. However, it takes many years to develop a drug, and as such, while IPS cells are interesting, they cannot be considered an alternative for cell therapy. The genetic manipulations required to create IPS mean that they could not currently be safely transplanted. On the other hand, with umbilical cord derived stem cells we are already able to treat more than 70 diseases.
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    Can my baby’s stem cells also be used for another family member?
    Your baby’s stem cells can be used for anyone having a genetic match, such as a brother or sister. Stem cells from a relative (preferably a sibling) are generally the first option of a transplant when considering the source of stem cells. A large part of allogeneic transplants use stem cells from a family member.
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    What is the difference between the stem cells collected at the time of birth and stem cells collected during adulthood?
    The stem cells collected at birth are the youngest "adult stem cells". They are immunologically immature and do not provoke the same immune response, thus allowing for a less than perfect tissue match and increasing the chances of successful transplant. They also possess a greater ability to divide and differentiate than "older" adult stem cells.

Use of Stem Cells in Medical Treatment Show all Hide all

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    Could someone’s own cells be used in conditions where the disease has a genetic origin?
    If the child has a genetic disease, such as sickle cell anaemia, the stem cells will have the same genetic defect. In cases in which autologous (one’s own) stem cells cannot be used, a sibling’s cord blood is the next best option.
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    How many samples from private stem cell banks are used successfully in treatments of diseases?
    It is estimated that about 600 samples have been released from private cord blood banks for sibling or family transplants or autologous transplants. Most of these are from the USA, Cord Blood Europe (a non- profit organization of top cord blood banks in Europe) have released statistics on 45 released samples.
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    What factors determine whether a sample is compatible for a close relative? What are the chances that it is a match?
    The compatibility depends on Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) matching. A sibling has a 25% chance of a perfect match, however, as a cord blood transfusion does not need a perfect match the chances for a sibling to use the sample is about 40%. Parents have about a 12.5% of a perfect match.
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    Does blood type have anything to do with HLA-matching?

    No, the two are unrelated. Blood grouping is done and is matched if possible, but Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) is more important. The volume of blood transfused is small and ABO (blood type) mismatch is not usually a problem, but there are protocols for preparing ABO mismatched units1.

    1"How do I approach ABO-incompatible hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation?" Jennider Daniel-Johnson, Joseph Schwartz, Transfusion 2011; 51:1143-1149

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    What are an individual’s chances of using cord blood before the age of 25 years?

    At present, the odds that a person will have a stem cell transplant for blood or blood related disorder, either from their own cells or from a donor before age 25 are about 1 in 1700, whereas by age 70 the odds are 1 in 200. However, this data does not reflect potential therapies using stem cells that may be developed in the future2.

    2Nietfeld, J. J., et al. “Lifetime probabilities of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the US.” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 14.3 (2008): 316-22. Print.

The Collection and Storage Process Show all Hide all

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    Can the delivery of the baby be altered or delayed to successfully collect the cord blood and/or cord tissue?
    Cord blood and/or cord tissue collection does not interfere with the birthing process or change the way that the obstetrician delivers the child.
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    Is storing umbilical cord blood and/or cord tissue painful or dangerous for my baby and me?
    Not at all. The collection takes place immediately after birth, once the umbilical cord between the mother and child is cut. The collection is easy, over in a few minutes and completely harmless to both the mother and child.
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    Is there a connection between the volume of the collected blood and the number of stem cells?
    In general, there is a direct correlation between the volume of the blood and the number of stem cells. However, in individual cases there are exceptions. The general rule is that the higher the volume of the blood collected, the more stem cells, the better.
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    What happens with the stored stem cells samples after 25 years?

    When the contract expires, the owner (now of age) will be approached and offered an extension to the storage contract. The cells will otherwise be destroyed or donated to development with his/her permission.

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    How can I be assured that Cryo-Save operates according to the latest quality guidelines?

    Cryo-Save guarantees the highest quality standards in terms of transport, preparation and security of your child’s stored umbilical cord blood and/or cord tissue. All of our Laboratories are appropriately licensed and the Laboratory Protocols have been established in compliance with the NetCord-FACT international guidelines. Geneva’s facility is officially accredited as a Licensed Tissue Establishment for the collection, analysis, processing, cryopreservation, storage and release of stem cells from umbilical cord blood and tissue, and  has achieved accreditations according to the highest standards: GMP:WHO, GMP:Pic/S and ISO 9001:2008.