More MS news articles for July 2001

Untapped, Ethical Source of Stem Cells -- Umbilical Cord Blood?

http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/6/272001c.asp

By Bill Fancher and Jody Brown
June 27, 2001

(AgapePress) - The founder of an international bio-tech company says everybody can benefit from stem cell research without having to obtain the cells from human embryos which are then discarded.

Daniel Richard is chairman and CEO of Cryo-Cell International, a cellular storage company that specializes in preserving newborn babies' umbilical cord blood. The 70-year-old former Marine and marketing president says the medical industry has been overlooking cord blood an abundant source of stem cells.

"The stem cells I'm talking about are the umbilical cord blood stem cells ... 3.9 million of them that are thrown away in the hospital bio-waste bins every year after the birth of the child," Richard says. "There's four million babies born [every year], and 3.99 million of the cords end up as bio-waste material."

According to Richard, umbilical cord blood -- for many reasons -- should be the source for stem cell retrieval. "Right now, harvesting bone marrow is difficult, and there are more stem cells in cord blood than [in] bone marrow," he says, "and the New England Journal of Medicine even cited advantages of using umbilical cord blood as means for transplantation as opposed to bone marrow because there would be less incidence of Graft-vs-Host Disease post transplant."

At a recent press conference in Washington, Richard spoke of efforts to promote his information about stem cell retrieval. "I've waited ten years for this forum to be able to tell the world [that] there shouldn't be a single cord blood discarded because they have the ability to save lives," he says.

Richard has asked the President and the Congress to encourage the use and storage of umbilical cord blood. "Tell me one single mother in the world that would allow her baby's cord blood to be discarded as hospital bio-waste when absolutely it could save maybe a life in her family, it could save a sibling's life ... or [that of] an unrelated third party." He says cord blood stem cells, which are obtained ethically, can also be used for research.

Cryo-Cell International is based in Clearwater, Florida. According to an interview Richard did with the Sedona (Arizona) Red Rock News, his company has invented and patented machines that store the stem cells at -196 degrees Celsius, the temperature at which cellular activity ceases. Cryo-Cell promises to bank the stem cells until science has found a way to put them to use and until a child or future adult might need them.

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