- What is a stem cell?
- What are stem cells used for?
- Why bank umbilical cord blood?
- What are the benefits of having my baby’s cord stem cells stored?
- When should I consider storing my baby’s stem cells?
- How are the stem cells collected?
- Is the collection procedure harmful to my baby?
- What happens after the birth?
- Now that we have saved these precious stem cells, what happens next?
- What do you store my baby’s stem cells in?
- How long can you keep these cells in storage?
- Why does Cryo-Save have annual storage fees?
- Benefits of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Storage from Cord Tissue
- What therapies lie in the future?
- Why are cord blood stem cells different and better than the other sources?
- What makes Cryo-Save different from other companies?
Stem cells are considered to be the basic building blocks of our body and are often referred to as ‘Master Cells’. Stem cells have the potential to become almost any other cell in the body making stem cell therapies the way of the future.
Stem cell therapies and treatments are arguably the fastest growing sector in the medical industry today, and already treating over 70 diseases and disorders. Some of the fatal diseases and disorders currently being treated with stem cells are: The Leukaemia’s, Lymphoma’s and other blood cancers, bone marrow disorders like Aplastic Anaemia and Sickle Cell disease.
Patients requiring a Haemopoietic stem cell transplant will receive cells from one of three sources: bone marrow, circulating blood, or umbilical cord blood. It is easier to match transplant patients with immune naive cord blood stem cells than with the other sources of stem cells. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are the most immune naïve stem cells making it best to harvest these at birth from your baby as it has not yet been exposed to infections and immune reactions. Transplant patients also recover better when they receive stem cells from a related donor, instead of an unrelated donor.
- Current applications (over 70 diseases- see our list of current treatable diseases)
- Future potential for other diseases currently in clinical trials
- No risk to mother or child at collection
- Technology to process and cryo-preserve samples making them available when needed.
- Greater chance of a match within the family when compared to bone marrow or peripheral blood due to the immaturity of the immune cells in the cord blood.
Your baby’s cord blood stem cells remain a perfect match for your baby, and have a high probability of being a viable match for a sibling (1-in-4). It can also potentially be used by other family members in the treatment of over 70 diseases including a wide range of blood cancers, genetic diseases, immune system deficiencies and blood disorders.
Other advantages include:
- Cord blood is readily available at birth
- It is easily collected without risk to mother or child and is totally painless
- There is a reduced risk of graft versus host disease
- Cord blood stem cells have superior proliferative capacity
The current reported probability for future use of stem cells for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant remains in the order of 1 to 200 by age 70 (based on national medical data bases SEER and CIBMTR for the years 2001-2003). It is anticipated that this probability will increase substantially in future as new medical advances are made. Internationally, substantial research is being conducted on umbilical cord blood, to find ways of expanding the number of HSC’s.
When you give birth you have an opportunity to save your baby’s stem cells. Your growing baby is full of pure, potent stem cells and unfortunately you only get one chance to collect them.
Umbilical cord blood is the youngest and most primitive adult stem cells we have today. It is important to remember that this blood, umbilical cord and placenta are normally thrown away as medical waste.
Collection is a very simple, non-invasive and totally painless procedure for you and your baby. On the birth day, you will hand your Doctor our ‘Collection Kit’. During your birth, once the baby is born the umbilical cord is clamped and cut as normal. Your Paediatrician will ensure your baby is all well and your doctor will collect the blood that is left over from the umbilical cord and placenta. A needle is inserted into the vein in the umbilical cord and blood is then quickly drained using a specialized blood bag. In most cases the number of stem cells available for harvesting is directly proportional to the volume of cord blood collected. Therefore if more blood is collected, more stem cells will be available for harvest and storage. The number of stem cells that are frozen may relate to the therapeutic usefulness of the product at a later time.
No, the umbilical cord blood is only collected once the cord has been clamped and separated from the baby. This collection procedure does not affect the birthing procedure practiced by your healthcare professional. Therefore the process is perfectly safe and pain free for both mother and baby. As far as the mother and child are concerned it is completely non-invasive.
After the birth, your doctor will hand the “kit” back to you and we will collect it from your bedside. Private couriers will forward the sample to the Local or International laboratory to be processed immediately, maximising the cell viability. It is important that the specimen reaches us within 24-48 hours after collection.
On arrival at our laboratory, the stem cells are then extracted through an intricate process at our laboratory. Your sample is tested by an outside pathology lab to verify viability and sterility. Finally, they are control rate frozen and then placed in long term storage cryo-preservation tanks.
All samples are processed according to International Standards and validated SOP’s.
The stem cells are stored in special long term cryo-preservation bags which are overwrapped and then placed in an aluminium protective case’. Each sample is labelled with a unique code and stored individually.
As this is a new industry, the validation of cryo-preserved samples over time continues to be validated. Thus to date there are published validated studies from Broxmeyer and colleagues supporting validation for 23 years. This research showed that stem cells stored for 23 years still yield high viability and functionality suggesting that stem cells can be potentially stored for decades to come.
We do not lock you into expensive long term storage agreements and we will not charge you again after the initial 10 or 20 years – your stem cells can be stored indefinitely with Cryo-Save. This exclusive opportunity is made possible by simply paying a minimal annual storage fee: R200 (incl vat) for local storage and R500 (incl VAT) for international storage. This payment is only made once a year.(6% escalation annually broadly
consistent with CPI). This fee ensures that our facilities are continually upgraded and so we may stay at the forefront of this technology.
Cord Tissue is a rich source of Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s), which create structural and connective tissue and also have immune suppressing and immune modulating characteristics.
They have been implicated in regenerative medicine, with the end goal to replace, repair or regenerate living functional cells or tissues. They are actively being researched in numerous diseases, like heart conditions, orthopedic applications, auto-immune disorders, liver disorders, neurological diseases and others. There are over 150 clinical trials to date with MSC’s.
Cryo-Save’s Mesenchymal stem cell storage is VALIDATED indicating that we have successfully grown various tissues in our lab from cord blood Mesenchymal stem cells. This indicates that we are storing the correct cells in the correct manner
The untapped potential of stem cells therapies lie in the future. Currently there are promising results with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, acquired hearing loss in children, heart muscle repair after heart attack, spinal cord repair, diabetes, arthritis, blindness and even open wounds like burns and frost bite.
Stem cells extracted from cord blood are the “youngest” type of adult stem cells and, as a result, have potential therapeutic advantages over other sources of adult stem cells. They are less likely to contain DNA abnormalities (for example, caused by sunlight and other toxins) and are less likely to be rejected in transplantations, even if not an exact match. On a practical level, the collection of cord blood has fewer risks, such as those associated with the use of a general anaesthesia when harvesting bone marrow. Furthermore, they are immediately available for use if they are required for treatment, which could improve the chances of effective treatment by minimising the chances of disease progression while a suitable bone marrow donor is located.
- Quality: We are officially accredited by strict and recognized agencies, such as ISO, AABB and FAGG
- Stability: Cryo-Save is financially stable and as we are jointly listed on the JSE and European Stock Exchange
- Experience: More than 10 years, making it one of the oldest companies in Europe and Africa
- Trust: To this day, over 225,000 families have saved their precious stem cell samples with us
- Usefulness: Numerous samples have been released for conditions like Medulloblastoma and Cerebral Palsy
- Choice: New services are continuously being offered, such as local and international storage under one
- Research: Cryo-Save funds high level research, such as the EU supported Hyperlab project
The benefits of banking your baby’s stem cells for the future are endless and a once in a lifetime opportunity.