More MS news articles for Feb 2002

Umbilical Cord Blood Cells Save Lives, According to CorCell

http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020207008162&query=sclerosis

PR Newswire - USA; Feb 7, 2002

Issues surrounding the use of stem cells are frequently in the news. The growing controversy surrounding stem cells and their use in life-saving research and treatments has pushed the issue out of the labs and into the mainstream. CorCell -- a leading expert on umbilical cord blood cell preservation and storage -- is concerned about potential misrepresentation of some key issues pertaining to this critical medical field. The company is striving to dispel myths and increase public awareness about the inherent values and benefits of preserving and storing cord blood cells, embarking on a campaign to educate parents and families.

Umbilical cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord following full-term birth. Until recently, this blood was discarded as medical waste after delivery, but research has shown that these cells could be used to help develop therapies and treat diseases. Since cord blood stem cells are taken from what was previously considered "waste" after the birth of a full-term baby, there is absolutely no risk and no endangerment to mother or child. The collection process is non-invasive and pain free, as cord blood is removed from the umbilical cord after the baby is born.

The benefit of planned cord blood cell preservation through a private bank allows expectant parents guaranteed access to their baby's cord blood cells for potential future use by their own family. Such storage ensures that the stem cells are immediately available to the family, if needed. Cord blood cells donated to a public bank are available to anyone in need, pending tissue type match, and provide a critical resource to those in immediate need who have not preserved cord blood for the family's specific use.

With conventional transplants, such as bone marrow, the patient first looks to family members for a tissue match. If there is not a family match, the patient must wait until a non-family match is found and available. With a cord blood cell transplant, the waiting time can be significantly reduced. According to Dr. Jack Goldberg, Head of the Cooper Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology, "Twenty percent of people needing transplants match within their own family, leaving 80% who must search for a non-family match. Unfortunately, that wait is often too long and half of these needy patients die before a match and donor is found. Cord blood could save these people. There is no reason for them to wait indefinitely for a donor match when cord blood stem cells can be readily available."

Marcia Laleman, President and CEO of Philadelphia-based CorCell, comments, "Today, there are over 45 malignant and non-malignant diseases that have been treated with stem cells from umbilical cords, including leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, bone marrow failure syndromes, osteoporosis, and numerous other life-threatening diseases. Additionally, cord blood stem cell research is underway for possible treatment of muscular dystrophy, stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, AIDS, diabetes, lupus, and multiple sclerosis." She continues, "Given the advances in research and technology, we really don't know just how valuable this resource will be in the future. It has the potential to be an extremely valuable, life-saving option."

About CorCell, Inc.

CorCell, Inc. is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company began as the first private cord-blood company licensed for umbilical cord blood collection, and is now a leader in the processing and storage of cord blood stem cells. CorCell stores cord blood stem cells in its internationally known, AABB accredited banking facility, which has transplanted 12 cord blood units to date.

CorCell and Community Blood Services (CBS) have formed a strategic partnership devoted to expertly testing, processing, and storing quality cord blood stem cells for future transplantation. CBS is accredited by the AABB, and licensed and regulated by the FDA for blood banking. For more information on CorCell, visit http://www.corcell.com/.

Contact:

Marcia Laleman of CorCell, +1-215-864-0400; or Kelly Gates of Gates and Company, +1-302-994-9173, for CorCell
 

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