“Due to this lack of awareness, there is a massive shortage of stem cell units stored for future treatments. This shortage, or lack of availability, is mostly affecting patients of African, Asian, Hispanic and Native American Indian descent. I, being a minority member of this group, am very concerned by this shortage.” Since patients who need a transplant are more likely to find a match within their own genetic background, Cirino adds, it is important that the pool of donors reflects the overall community.
Through Cirino’s field of work, his aspiration has been to be able to assist individuals in potentially saving their life when a debilitating immune deficiency or disorder arises. Though, Cirino continuously asks himself, “Why isn't everyone banking these cells?”
His best assumption is that people are not informed about stem cell banking and what is most disheartening, some have never even heard of it. Most people are not aware they have stem cells in their body. Others believe that stem cells only come from only human embryos since this is what’s mainly discussed in politics and the news today. May this be the reason they are choosing to have no part in it and ignore it? “If so, this is not the case, these cells are found in adults and there are not controversial, moral, ethical or have any political issues surrounding them. The amazing thing about these cells, aside from their potential to treat a variety of different diseases, is that for the most part they can be harvested from the individual through relatively minimally invasive procedures and can be cryogenically frozen (at a temperature of -321 F (-196 C)) and stored for decades until a disease manifests itself or the needed for cell-based therapies arises,” said Cirino.
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