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Umbilical Cord Blood or Tissue Banking

Highlights from February 20, 2013 Creating a Family radio show

How can cord blood be used to help your child? What else should parents think about at birth to try to save or collect to potentially be used to treat disease or cancer? And what exactly is “Wharton’s Jelly”? Our guests to talk about the potenitial uses for blood and tissue from the umbilical cord is Dr. Roni Bollag. Dr Bollag has a PhD in Genetics from Yale University and an MD from the Medical College of Georgia. He is board-certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and specialty certified in Transfusion Medicine/Blood Banking. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Georgia, and also serves as laboratory director for the Cord Blood Service at Xytex Cryo in Augusta, GA. We also have Dr. James Carroll, Chief of Child Neurology at Georgia Health Sciences University and Georgia Children’s Hospital. He has been involved with clinical and laboratory research in stem cells, cerebral palsy and brain injury for many years.

  • What is the umbilical cord and what does it do?
  • Why is the umbilical cord such a rich source of possibly useful tissue?
  • What “material” in the umbilical cord, other than blood, has medical or research use?
  • Does the placenta have tissue, blood, or other “material” that can be of use, and should it be saved?
  • Can cord blood be used to treat cancer? What type of cancers?
  • Are there some types of cancer that you specifically wouldn’t want to use the person’s own stem cells to treat?
  • Can it be used as an alternative to a bone marrow transplant and if so, is the procedure less risky than a bone marrow transplant?
  • Can other members of the infant’s family potentially benefit from banked/saved cord blood or tissue?
  • Is it feasible or reasonable to create a family stem cell line to extend the usefulness of the cord blood?
  • What are you looking to “match” when using cord blood and how close does this match need to be for others to use the cord blood?
  • How much umbilical cord blood or tissue is retrieved and how many people can use it?
  • How much umbilical cord blood is retrieved compared to how much is needed to treat a child or adult for cancer or some other disease?
  • How long does research suggest that the cord blood or tissue will remain viable if frozen?
  • When you store cord blood or Wharton’s Jelly, can your child feasibly use it when he is much older, (which is when most cancers strike)?
  • How do you collect cord blood or Wharton’s Jelly?
  • How do you go about getting cord blood or Wharton’s Jelly banked privately or publically?
  • Is it possible to bank Wharton’s Jelly in a public bank?
  • Can you bank some for personal use and donate some to public banks?
  • Is the public banked umbilical cord blood almost as good for most uses as the privately banked cord blood?
  • Is there a cost for public banking? Who pays for the collection, shipping, etc.?
  • What is the cost for private banking of blood?
  • Can you bank Wharton’s Jelly or placental tissue?
  • How does the cost benefit play out for banking your child’s blood?
  • Uses of cord blood or Wharton’s Jelly to treat other diseases such as autism, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and cerebral palsy.

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