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Americord Registry Becomes First Cord Blood Bank to Offer Placenta Preservation, Advancing Cord Blood Stem Cell Therapy Options
Date:10/19/2010

NEW YORK, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Americord Registry announced its breakthrough placenta stem cell preservation process, the first of its kind, as a new and significantly more effective alternative to private cord blood stem cell banking. The new process, called Cord Plus, preserves up to ten times more stem cells from the placenta than is found on average in a unit of cord blood, which contains only enough stem cells to treat a patient weighing less than 65 pounds. As a result of this breakthrough, doctors may soon be able to cure substantially more people of sickle cell, leukemia, and other life threatening blood disorders.

Despite being the fastest growing stem cell therapy used therapeutically, "Cord blood has never developed into a practical treatment for adults because there are simply not enough stem cells in one unit of cord blood to transplant to an adult," said Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland (Calif.) scientist Frans Kuypers, Ph.D., a leader in the area of placenta research. "The greater supply of stem cells in the placenta will likely increase the chance that an HLA (human leukocyte antigen) matched unit of stem cells engrafts, making stem cell transplants available to more people. The more stem cells, the bigger the chance of success," says Kuypers.

Stem cells harvested from cord blood, first introduced as a therapy in 1983, have been playing an important and growing role in the treatment of life-threatening blood diseases as an alternative to bone marrow stem cell treatment. The National Marrow Donor Program projects that there will be 10,000 cord blood transplants per year by 2015, up from 2,000 in 2006. Reasons for using cord blood and placenta derived stem cells over bone marrow include (i) it is more easily matched with a recipient, (ii) it is more readily available and (iii) there is a lower chance
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