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Cord Blood Bank Service Adds Cases to Research Database


ViaCord, a cord-blood banking service in Waltham, Massachusetts, is collaborating with the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research in Milwaukee to add studies of ViaCord’s stem cell transplants to the Center’s research database. Financial aspects of the agreement were not disclosed.

ViaCord, a division of manufacturer Perkin-Elmer, offers families expecting children with the opportunity to preserve the new-born’s umbilical cord blood for potential medical use by the child or family members. Blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta are rich in blood-forming stem cells, which are different from embryonic stem cells. Stem cells from cord blood can be used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, or certain inherited metabolic or immune system disorders resulting from diseased blood-forming cells.

The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research is a joint undertaking of the National Marrow Donor Program and Medical College of Wisconsin. The Center maintains a clinical database of more than 350,000 transplant recipients to advance blood cell transplant and therapy research.

The collaboration aims to improve understanding of cord blood-derived stem cell applications. Under the agreement, the Center will collect and analyze data to better gauge the quality and improve the use of outcome metrics from ViaCord’s released cord blood stem cell units, as well as improve how the units are used.

ViaCord and the Center plan to collect and publish data as well as identify outcomes unique to stem cell transplants from the same patient, known as autologous transplants, and related patients. The partnership will also make posible studies of umbilical cord blood units released for future transplants in autologous cell therapy and regenerative medicine clinical trials, to treat conditions such as cerebral palsy and type 1 diabetes.

The agreement with the Center, says ViaCord’s chief scientist Morey Kraus, “allows us to simultaneously gain insights into the effectiveness of the cord blood stem cell units we have released for use as well as outcomes from their clinical application.”

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