Families choose to bank cord blood for various reasons – from family history of disease to peace of mind. We’ve put together our Top 3 list to help you with this important decision.
- The healing power of cord blood stem cells today. Cord blood stems cells are currently used in the treatment of nearly 80-diseases, including a wide range of cancers, blood disorders, and genetic diseases. Since the first cord blood transplant performed for a child with Fanconi’s anemia in 1988, over 30,000 cord blood transplants have been performed world-wide 4. Nearly half of all pediatric transplants worldwide now involve cord blood stem cells.3 Continue reading
Approximately 5.4 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease – one in eight older Americans suffers from this condition.1 It’s an irreversible, progressive brain disease that negatively impacts memory and cognitive skills. With no known cure today, the scientific community continues to research potential new treatment options, including the potential use of umbilical cord blood and cord tissue stem cells.
Umbilical cord tissue offers an abundant source of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). These stem cells are expected to play a critical role in the treatment of disease and are being studied in great detail for their regenerative properties in cartilage, muscle, and nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s the dysfunction of a certain type of neuron (nerve cell), called the cholinergic neuron, is one cause of cognitive disorder in patients.
All across the country this month people are helping raise awareness about premature births. According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 8 babies born in the US each year is born prematurely and 15 million babies worldwide are born too soon.1 Many of these little fighters will grow up healthy and unaffected by their early entrance into the world, however many will not. These babies are at an increased risk of serious medical complications and lasting disabilities including cerebral palsy; chronic lung diseases and vision and hearing problems.1
Although decades of research have been unable to identify an effective way to help prevent premature births, medical providers have made tremendous advances in caring for babies born too small and too soon. Continue reading
Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time. It’s the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. Following a joint injury the chance of developing a type of osteoarthrisis, called post-traumatic arthritis (PTA) increases greatly.1 Although no cure exists today, a recent study funded by the Arthritis Foundation and National Institute of Health demonstrated a stem cell therapy that could potentially be used after a joint injury to prevent the onset of PTA.
For the therapy researchers at Duke University Health System used a specific group of stem cells, called mesenchemyal stem cells (MSCs), because of their beneficial properties in other areas of the body. The MSCs were extracted from bone marrow of mice, expanded to achieve a purified source of cells, and then delivered to the joints of mice with fractures that typically would lead to them developing arthritis. The result?
As adults, we do our best to help ensure that the generations of children after us grow up healthy, happy, and live long fruitful lives. President Calvin Coolidge was so passionate about this that in 1928 he proclaimed a national observance day in the United States, called Child Health Day - which is today, October 1st! Each year, this day is dedicated to helping people learn more about how they can protect and develop children’s health – something we can still appreciate 84 years later.
Child Health Day focuses on providing resources and tools to help adults minimize or alleviate child health problems in a variety of areas including: prenatal care, adolescent health, the impact of daycare on a child’s development, preventing injuries, healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and immunization. Some organizations take part in this day through events promoting health, and others through activities that focus on healthy eating and physical activity for children and their parents.
At ViaCord we’d like to contribute to the efforts of such an important day by letting people know about another way to help plan ahead for a child’s health – through cord blood banking. Banking cord blood means parents will have secured a potential future medical resource for their family. Stem cells found in umbilical cord blood hold great potential – they are not only the building blocks of our organs, tissues, blood and immune system, they also have the ability to develop into different cell types in the human body.
It may seem that every month a different group or charity is rallying around a cause, raising awareness for anything from illnesses to social issues to silly things like hamburgers (yep, we bet you didn’t know May is National Hamburger Month!).1 However, it’s rare that two separate advocacy campaigns complement each other as they did this month. September is both Blood Cancer Awareness Month and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and though they are separate campaigns, their goal is the same – help raise awareness about a life-threatening disease affecting thousands of people each year.
Whether tiny, tall, young or old, anyone can develop cancer. In both kids and adults, cancer occurs when normal cells begin to grow abnormally, divide at a rapid rate and invade other tissues. In many instances, these quick-growing cells form tumors, which can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). There are over 100 different types of cancer. 2
ViaCord families help raise awareness about cord blood banking on a daily basis – something we are very grateful for. From Facebook posts about the decision to bank, to simple ‘Did you know about…’ conversations in the grocery store, ViaCord families want others to know about the value of cord blood. We recently caught up with a ViaCord mom, Dawn, who is doing just that through a new endeavor of hers.
In 2007, Dawn welcomed twin boys into the world, and almost exactly two years later she welcomed another set of twins into the world – this time a boy and girl! Along with her husband, Tim, Dawn has spent the last several years raising her little ones while continuing to work part-time and further her education. A Super-Mom? We’d say so!
Dawn chronicled her successes and failures, and made tools along the way that helped her navigate the day to day. Continue reading
Sunday is National Grandparents Day, and before the celebrations begin we’d like to take a moment to say thank you to grandparents everywhere for playing such an important role in family life. As mentors, nurturers, heroes, buddies, providers – today’s generation of grandparents is one-of-a-kind.
Grandparents today are strongly aware of the importance of maintaining good health and planning for it, as well as the significant advancements being made in medicine today.
That’s why it’s no surprise many grandparents are helping make the important decision to bank their grandchild’s newborn stem cells, which could potentially protect that grandchild or his/her siblings. From passing along information about the benefits of cord blood and cord tissue banking, to gifting ViaCord’s service rather than buying something for the baby’s nursery, their involvement in the decision making process is on the rise – and we can’t tell you how great that is to see.
In fact, a life-saving decision made by parents Ben and Jamie Page to bank their daughter’s cord blood was initiated by Jamie’s mother. Jamie’s mother had seen a story about cord blood banking on the television and told Jamie it was something she should look into. According to Jamie, “we did it not thinking we would need it just a few months later.” When their daughter, Harlow, was just four months old doctors discovered a “grapefruit sized mass in her stomach” and “nobody could agree” on what kind of cancer it was. As treatment options were discussed the Pages wondered if the stem cells from her cord blood could be used to treat their daughter’s aggressive cancer. You can watch the Page’s story by clicking here.
Whether it’s banking newborn stem cells or picking out a color for the baby’s room, a grandparent’s involvement in any sort of family decision is a reflection of one thing – love. As a way to show our love, thanks and appreciation for the special people we call grandparents, ViaCord created a board on Pinterest entitled, “We love Grandparents…” – well, because we do! We hope you enjoy it and feel free to leave a comment below about how much you love the grandparent’s in your life!
- Photo by iwillbehomesoon JP Photography posted on Flickr 29Jun12. Permissions.
As the world recovers from the breathtaking display of London’s closing ceremonies, so too are athletes recovering from their participation in the 2012 Olympic Games. While some sports may be more physically demanding than others, all athletes are put under tremendous mental and physical pressure, and even the best trained, most hardened athletes need to take time to heal their bodies after competing at the world’s highest level. Even Kerri Walsh, who won her 3rd Olympic beach volleyball gold and became one of the most dominant Olympic athletes along with perennial teammate Misty May-Trainer, took to Twitter immediately post-match, uploading images of herself soaking in an ice bath to help her body heal.
Many athletes take traditional approaches like Kerri, but as science and technology continue to progress, athletes are venturing into more unconventional methods like stem cell treatments, cryo chambers, and acupuncture:
In celebration of July being Cord Blood Awareness Month, ViaCord is giving away a free cord blood banking service to one expecting family. Recognized by the National Health Information Center (NHIC), July is all about raising awareness and educating parents about the value that cord blood has in stem cell treatments and research.
After birth, a baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut before it is generally disposed of as medical waste. For many families, they may have never considered cord blood banking, whether it’s a donation to a public bank or by storing it in a private bank. Cord Blood Awareness Month is meant to help educate parents on this choice and the benefits that cord blood stem cells could provide for their child or a sibling. For example, cord blood stem cells are shown to be a better source of stem cells for use in transplants than bone marrow and can be used to treat nearly 80-life threatening disease.