More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Cris Carter, Bruce Zafran to Co-Chair CRYO-CELL's 'Save the Stem Cells' Campaign

Nov 12, 2001
PR Newswire - USA;

TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesota Viking Cris Carter will join Bruce Zafran, M.D., as co-chair of "Save the Stem Cells," an educational campaign launched by CRYO-CELL International, Inc. (Nadaq: CCEL) to increase public awareness about umbilical cord blood as a non-controversial, readily available source of stem cells for therapies and medical research and to educate expectant parents and their healthcare providers about the alternatives to allowing their newborns' cord blood to be discarded at birth.

The campaign's first educational event is a seminar for healthcare providers, where Zafran, Carter and others will discuss the issues surrounding stem cell preservation from the healthcare and parenting perspectives. Those interested in attending the Nov. 14 event in Minneapolis can call (727) 450-8002 or visit for information or to make reservations.

"Bruce and Cris both will play critical roles in the success of this international campaign," says Daniel Richard, chairman and CEO of CRYO-CELL International. "As a board-certified OB/GYN, Bruce can focus on educating the healthcare community about the importance of incorporating cord blood stem cell education into their pre-natal care practices, as well as encourage hospital administrators and chiefs of obstetrics to make cord blood stem cell preservation a standard admission question for expectant parents.

"As a popular, well-respected professional athlete and an ordained minister, Cris will be able to reach a broad audience, educating the public at large about the benefits of non-controversial cord blood stem cells, and the importance of preserving them for the family's own use, or donating them to medical research," Richard continues.

Found in rich abundance in umbilical cord blood, stem cells are valuable because of their ability to regenerate a patient's immune system when it has been damaged by disease or destroyed by therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation. Already, stem cell therapy is successfully used as an alternative to bone marrow transplantation to treat a variety of diseases including certain leukemias and cancers, lymphoma, some forms of anemias, sickle cell disease and a growing number of other blood disorders, inherited metabolic disorders and deficiencies of the immune system.

Tragically, in spite of their proven viability as an alternative to bone marrow and the almost daily news of new advances in medical therapies, less than 1 percent of the umbilical cords and stem cell rich cord blood of the nearly 4 million children born each year in the United States are discarded as medical waste.

The Save the Stem Cells campaign was created to bring an end to that waste by educating expectant parents, their healthcare providers and the public at large about the alternatives to discarding these potentially life-saving stem cells, which include: 1. preservation with a private bank for family use 2. donation to a public bank, where it can be matched to unrelated patients in need of a stem cell transplant 3. donation to medical research, allowing researchers to continue their efforts to find treatments and cures for a wide range of diseases and conditions.

"Through my involvement with the Save the Stem Cells campaign, I hope to do more than just inform my colleagues about cord blood stem cells. I hope to spur them to action," says Zafran, who is in private practice in Coral Springs, Fla. "My goal is to make cord blood collection a routine part of the delivery process. It is a quick, risk-free and painless procedure whose potential benefits are staggering. Yet too often we miss opportunities to educate our patients on their options when it comes to the disposition of their baby's umbilical cord blood."

Adds Carter: "I hope to help other parents make a conscious decision to not allow their children's umbilical cord blood to be thrown out. This is particularly important for ethnic minorities, who face unique challenges if a transplant is ever needed. When you consider that 97 percent of all sickle cell patients are African-American, and that cord blood stem cell therapy has been successfully used to treat this deadly disease, it's easy to understand why the simple act of preserving or donating your baby's cord blood stem cells could one day save a life."

Donations to medical research, in particular, are serving to rapidly expand the medical uses for cord blood stem cells. Recently, a team of researchers at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit found that reprogramming cord blood stem cells has helped laboratory rats have a more progressive recovery. A CRYO-CELL affiliate, Saneron CCEL Therapeutics discovered that the stem cells found in cord blood are able to differentiate into neural cells. In the future they can be used to treat a greater variety of diseases.

"Stem cell research also holds the promise of a cure for juvenile diabetes and for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis," says Zafran.

Adds Wanda D. Dearth, CRYO-CELL's president and COO: "Undoubtedly, some of the most promising medical advances to be made in decades are yet to be discovered through stem cell research using umbilical cord blood. Yet that research won't be possible unless expectant parents make the decision to collect their baby's umbilical cord blood before their baby is born -- a decision they can't make if they are not aware of their collection, preservation and/or donation options."

For more information on the Save the Stem Cells campaign, call 800-STOR-CELL (800-786-7235).

About CRYO-CELL International, Inc.

CRYO-CELL International, Inc. (Nadaq: CCEL) is America's fastest growing private cord blood cell bank. The Company has also become the largest exclusive computerized, robotically operated U-Cord(TM) stem cell repository, which cryo-preserves cord blood for the potential medical benefit of newborns and/or their siblings. CRYO-CELL has pioneered America's most affordable U-Cord preservation program. CRYO-CELL is a publicly traded company.

Forward-Looking Statement

Statements wherein the terms "believes," "intends," or "expects" as used are intended to reflect "forward-looking statements" of the Company. The information contained herein is subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results anticipated in such forward-looking statements or paragraphs. Readers should carefully review the risk factors described in other documents the Company files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and any Current Reports on Form 8-K filed by the Company.

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