Stem Cells To Help Treat Brain Injury and Hearing Loss

Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is the exclusive partner for a growing number of clinical researchers focusing on the use of a child’s own cord blood stem cells to help treat pediatric brain injury and acquired hearing loss. To ensure consistency in cord blood stem cell processing, storage and release for infusion, three separate trials have included CBR in their FDA-authorized protocol—including two at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) working in partnership with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and a third at Georgia Health Sciences University, home of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). This makes CBR the only family stem cell bank pairing researchers with prospective patients for these studies.

“Partnering with a series of specialists who want to research the use of a child’s own newborn blood stem cells on a variety of disease states allows CBR to help advance medical research for regenerative therapies by connecting the child whose family banked with CBR to appropriate researchers,” said Heather Brown, MS, CGC, Vice President of Scientific & Medical Affairs at Cord Blood Registry. “The pediatric specialists from UTHealth, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Georgia Health Sciences University are at the forefront of stem cell research as they evaluate cord blood stem cells’ ability to help facilitate the healing process after damage to nerves and tissue.”

Hearing Loss and Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Trials Break New Ground

Sensorineural hearing loss affects approximately 6 per 1,000 children by 18 years of age, with 9 percent resulting from acquired causes such as viral infection and head injury.53,54,55 The Principal Investigator of the hearing loss study is Samer Fakhri, M.D., surgeon at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and associate professor and program director in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at UTHealth. He is joined by James Baumgartner, M.D., sponsor of the study and guest research collaborator for this first-of-its-kind FDA-regulated, Phase 1 safety study of the use of cord blood stem cells to treat children with acquired hearing loss.

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ITALY – Nanni Costa: we are the top country in the world for hematopoietic stem cells

Italy is the top country in the world for hematopoietic stem cell transplants per million inhabitants, said Alessandro Nanni Costa, the director of the National Transplant Center (CNT), presenting data today in Rome from a study by the Welfare Minister on umbilical cord stem cells.

Italy boasts a registry of 370,000 healthy adults available to donate blood stem cells.

The units of umbilical cord blood preserved in Italian biobanks number 17,503, while in 2008, only 141 were used in Italy or abroad.

The objective is to reach 80,000-90,000 units of umbilical cords preserved from which blood stem cells can be removed for transplants. In Italy there are 18 biobanks for the conservation of umbilical cords that must be reorganize and expanded to reach areas where there are no centers, such as Sardinia.

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Public stem cell bank halts operations for want of moolah

CHENNAI – The country’s first public stem cell bank has stopped accepting cord blood donations.

After processing and storing stem cells from cord blood of 569 women since February 2009, Jeevan Stem Cell Bank has put its operations on hold owing to lack of funds. The bank hopes that the situation will soon change, and it can restart operations once more donations come in.

Private banks charge anywhere up to Rs 1.5 lakh for extraction and preservation of these cells, but Jeevan, which started with an initial investment of Rs 3 crore, depends on public goodwill and corporate donations. The stem cells, capable of developing into different kinds of cells and tissues and curing diseases like blood cancer and thalassemia, were planned to be offered for common use.

When the bank began, it aimed at processing and storing at least 30,000 units of stem cells from cord blood by 2014, but for collecting and processing each unit, it cost the bank Rs 30,000. The cost of harvesting cord blood is Rs 8,500 and tissue typing costs Rs 7,000, besides others. “This wasn’t viable without more donations. We have stopped operations,” the stem cell bank’s medical director Saranya Narayan said.

Stem cells have a shelf life of 24 years. “As of now, there is good cure rate from stem cell therapy for some blood-related diseases. The cells may grow damaged tissues or organs. Stem cell therapy has the potential to cure more than 70 medical conditions,” she said.

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ITALY – Undersecretary Fazio: against freedom of choice for autologous conservation of children’s stem cells by parents

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Italian Welfare Undersecretary Ferruccio Fazio disapproves of private biobanks and is clearly in favor of the “allogenic” conservation of umbilical cord stem cells, meaning the conservation of stem cells saved for the exclusive use of the donor-patient. Speaking about a government report on “the appropriate use of umbilical cord stem cells”, Fazio outlined the government’s approach on the issue. A few weeks after a ministerial decree dictating new regulations for umbilical cord conservation, Fazio explained autologous donation, meaning conservation of stem cells for yourself, “is not only less useful, but also less efficient as science has demonstrated”.

The only exception allowed by the ministerial decree is “the conservation of umbilical cord blood to be used by families with children who are at risk for diseases that are genetically determined, which are scientifically proven and clinically approved to be treated with umbilical cord stem cells upon presenting clinical documentation released by a specialist”. From a scientific standpoint, underlined Fazio, “the use of hematopoietic stem cells for allogenic transplants creates another advantage because these stem cells eliminate diseased cells that remain after chemotherapy or radiotherapy, thanks the ability of special white blood cells from the donor to recognize them as foreign and destroy the residual diseased cells, performing an actual ‘cellular therapy’. This effect of hematopoietic stem cells transplants is known as ‘Graft versus Leukemia’. Continue reading

India: bank heavily on stem cells

Stem Cell Therapy (dog) - Thérapie par transpl...

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell banking is gaining popularity in Indore and Bhopal as increasing numbers of parents are taking to the concept, which has the potential to secure their child’s healthy life.

The number of people who have registered for stem cell banking has increased multifold in Indore and Bhopal, placing them among the top 10 cities in the country, according to industry estimates.

Every month about 500 parents from Indore and Bhopal are investing in the potential life-saving power of stem cells by preserving the umbilical cord at child birth, whose stem cells help fight against any future life threatening diseases such as leukaemia and blood diseases.

This invaluable protection is proving nothing short of a miracle for some. “My son was diagnosed for thalassemia (a genetic blood disorder in which red blood cells are not produced properly) when he was 8 months old and preserving his stem cell is proving vital in his treatment,” said Sanjay Singh (name changed).

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