Before Kairo was born, we investigated the idea of preserving and storing her umbilical cord blood stem cells, as an “insurance” for treating future diseases or serious ilnesses that she might encounter in her lifetime. At the time of her birth, Kairo’s umbilical cord blood stem cells were collected by the medical team in attendance and has subsequently been stored with Cryo-Save South Africa.
We need to educate ourselves and others, creating awareness about issues affecting our lives and being proactive in caring for our families. We are currently in the midst of Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation and Leukemia Awareness months and therefore I would like to share information on the subject with you.
The following is a media release for Cryo-Save South Africa:
MEDIA RELEASE – September 2015 Sabio Communications
Stem cell storage a vital part of proactive family health
Globally, August, September and October mark a wide range of health awareness initiatives. Amongst these, Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation and Leukaemia Awareness Months, (15 Aug to 15 Oct) and drives for awareness of different forms of cancer, including: childhood cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer, among others.
Traditionally, health awareness drives have focused on aiding those affected or generally impacted by serious illnesses. Recently, however, the paradigm has expanded to include the notion of proactive or pre-emptive health care. Much of this expansion has been driven by the increasingly common use of stem cell treatments for various serious illnesses and disorders.
“The advent of Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation month offers an important clue to how quickly things have moved in the medical world, and how important stem cells have become,” says Louis Rehrl, Cryo-Save Managing Director. “Stem cell treatments are now effective in addressing afflictions and diseases in a way we wouldn’t have dreamed possible even ten years ago. Within this context, it’s vital to ensure that parents and families are aware of the current and potential future treatment opportunities made possible by early stage umbilical cord stem cell storage.”
According to The New York Times¹, as many as 4 500 clinical trials involving stem cells are currently underway in the United States alone. These trials seek to treat patients with heart disease, blindness, Parkinson’s, HIV, diabetes, blood cancers and spinal cord injuries, among other conditions. A 2015 study published in the journal JAMA Neurology² found that most of the multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who took part in a cutting-edge stem cell study called HALT-MS, are still in remission years later³. The study rebuilt patients’ immune systems using their own peripheral blood stem cells. 86% of the trial patients who received stem cell transplants between 2006 and 2010 have remained relapse free after three years, while 91% showed no sign of disease progression.
“Today’s parents have the ability to open up treatment options for their children in the future, should they be afflicted by a serious illness,” says Rehrl. “The key to adult stem cell treatment is often the availability of young, untainted stem cells of a suitable match. These are found in the umbilical cord, and can be stored for a long period of time.”
Umbilical cord blood stem cells are the purest form of adult stem cells available for long term storage. The cells provide an option for treating diseases for which a stem cell transplant is required, such as bone marrow failure or leukaemia. They also have an excellent chance (1:4) of providing a perfect match for siblings of either gender.
Storing a child’s umbilical cord stem cells is a simple, non invasive process which takes place immediately after birth. Umbilical cord stem cells are processed and cryogenically stored at ultra-low temperatures of below -190 degrees Celsius, creating a potential ‘use horizon’ of over 20 years. The sample is immediately available if a transplant is requested for treatment.
“It really is a simple and quick process,” says Rehrl. “At birth, surplus blood remaining in the umbilical cord is saved for potential treatments, along with the umbilical cord tissue itself, which contains another unique type of stem cell with the potential to repair damaged tissues such as cartilage, bone, muscle or nerves.”
Worldwide, more than 30,000 cord blood transplants have been performed to date. Given the dramatically expanding medical benefits, it looks likely this number will increase significantly in coming years. Awareness of the mechanics of stem cell storage will, however, be necessary if current generations are to benefit from the evolution of viable stem cell treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses.
“Drives such as cancer months are hugely important because they offer education and information to people who are not currently directly impacted by illness,” concludes Rehrl. “Often, it is this information that allows for successful treatment in the future. This has always been true in the context of early stage diagnoses, and it is increasingly true in the realm of umbilical cord stem cell storage.”
Cryo-Save: The Family Stem Cell Bank
About Cryo-Save South Africa:
Cryo-Save South Africa is part of the Cryo-Save Group, Europe’s and Africa’s largest private human stem cell bank. Through its 6 international labs, Cryo-Save globally stores more than 280 000 samples. In 2009, Cryo-Save became the first lab in the world to offer a validated cord tissue stem cell storage service and in 2013 provides unique viability testing on cord tissue to assess viability. Driven by its international business strategy, Cryo-Save is now represented in over 40 countries on six continents with ultra-modern processing and storage facilities in Belgium, Switzerland, Dubai, The Netherlands and South Africa. Cryo-Save South Africa is owned by two publicly listed companies, providing unmatched financial security for your investment. The South African lab sets the benchmark for blood banking laboratories in Africa and is situated in Pretoria. For more information on Cryo-Save or Stem Cell Storage contact 087 8080 170 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carla van Pletzen, Sabio Communications
Tel: (011) 476-8270
Cell: 082 336 7657
On behalf of Cryo-Save South Africa
Wendy Rehrl – Marketing
Tel: 087 808 0170
1. New York Times Home Page: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/16/science/stem-cell-progress-begins-to-catch-up-to-promise.html?_r=0. Retrieved 21-01-2015.
2. JAMA Neurology Home Page: http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2084840. Retrieved 21-01-2015.
3. Healthline.com Home Page: http://www.healthline.com/health-news/ms-patients-who-received-stem-cell-transplants-still-in-remission-010715#3. Retrieved 21-01-2015.