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Mounting stem cell treatment possibilities bolsters value of stem cell storage

Sabio Communications
Almost every month, new studies are published on promising potential treatments for various illnesses using stem cells – the building blocks of the human body. Consequently, more and more people are turning to stem cell storage facilities, such as Cryo-Save, a private family stem cell storage bank, to store the umbilical cord blood stem cells of babies at birth for potentially life-saving future treatments. Stem cell storage is fast becoming an important option for helping to ensure the future good health of your baby and your family.

Cryo-Save South Africa Appoints Dr Robert Crookes as Medical Director

Cryo-Save South Africa is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Robert Crookes as their Medical Director. Dr Crookes has had a long career in the field of transfusion medicine. His 36 years of experience in the implementation of medical and technological initiatives are a great asset to Cryo-Save.

Dr Crookes obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and spent three years as a medical resident at the Georgetown University Hospital Complex in Washington DC. He attained his board certification in internal medicine in the United States in 1978. Since then, Dr Crookes has participated in the implementation of a number of initiatives within the South African Blood Transfusion Service. The focus of these initiatives has been on enhancing the safety of transfusion medicine and ensuring that South African practices meet international medical and technological standards and advances.

“We are incredibly pleased to have a man of Dr Robert Crookes’s stature join the Cryo-Save South Africa team. With a career that has spanned over 30 years, we will be relying on his wisdom and immense experience to leverage new scientific advancements into production at the high standards that Cryo-Save is known for”, says Louis Rehrl, Managing Director of Cryo-Save South Africa.

One of Dr Crookes’s key objectives for Cryo-Save South Africa is to assist in achieving specific international accreditation. Cryo-Save South Africa currently adheres to the strict protocols and procedures devised and defined by the multi-accredited Cryo-Save laboratory in Europe.  “I believe that Cryo-Save South Africa can go one step further by applying for and achieving specific international accreditation,” said Dr Crookes. “I trust that my experience in blood service initiatives will enable me to assist Cryo-Save South Africa in securing and maintaining the highest International standards of practice in South Africa.”

Dr Crookes will be collaborating with the international team of medical staff and biomedical scientists within the Cryo-Save Group. This collaboration will ensure that Cryo-Save South Africa is at the forefront of studies in the fields of cellular therapy, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

What are Stem Cells

What is Stem Cell Technology & Storage? Although you may have read about the latest developments and many medical breakthroughs using stem cell technology you may still not know exactly how it works and why it is important to store the umbilical cord blood and tissue of your newborn child. To answer the question of what is stem cell storage and technology we first need to look at what is stored. Although many definitions exist for stem cells they are too complex to understand if you are not directly involved in the medical profession. In layman’s terms stem cells are biological cells which have the ability to divide into and grow into various specialised cells and contain the characteristic of being able to renew and produce more of the same kind of cells. Types The two main types are embryonic and adult stem cells. The adult types are located in various body tissues while the embryonic types can be isolated from inner cell mass. Stem cells help to repair damaged tissue and to grow new adult tissue.  What makes a stem cell different is its ability to take on a new specialization. Normally you have cells which are dedicated to grow into a specific specialization such as kidney tissue only, but stem cells can divide to take on new specialities. Function When the tissue is damaged and renewal cannot take place, other cells of the body cannot take over the speciality or grow into kidney cells. Stem cells on the other hand have the ability to form kidney tissue for instance, as has been shown in a recent breakthrough. Japanese scientists according to several news sources have been able to direct stem cells into growing kidney tissue. This is a huge step in regenerative medicine and a breakthrough long waited for. Technology Stem cell technology is the technology and science that makes it possible to regenerate numerous types of tissue, bone and blood through the application of stem cells to the specific areas. Several successful treatments, successes in clinical trials, and breakthrough studies have shown the huge potential of the technology for treatment of life threatening diseases such as renal disease, autism, strokes, heart disease, and several cancers. Storage The stem cells from the umbilical cord blood and tissue are processed and stored by means of cryopreservation in a special storage bank for future usage by the donor or the donor’s immediate family. Cryo-Save South Africa offers cryopreservation storage facilities and is also actively involved in research and awareness development regarding preservation and possible future treatments.

Japanese Scientists Grow Human Kidney Tissue out of Stem Cells

In a Medical Breakthrough Japanese Scientists Grow Human Kidney Tissue out of Stem Cells For the very first time ever, human kidney tissue has been grown from stem cells. Numerous newspapers reported that “Japanese scientists grow human kidney tissue out of stem cells” and how this is marvelled as a modern medical miracle. Kenji Osafune from the Kyoto University led a team of scientists in the research in which they have taken stem cells and successfully directed such into growing into kidney cells. Since kidneys have exceptionally complex structures, making it difficult to regenerate the functionality of the tissue, the work done by the Japanese team can truly be seen as a radical breakthrough in stem cell technology application and future medicine. New Hope for Patients Estimates show that well over a million people have some kind of renal disease and because of the complexity of kidney tissue, damage to such has proven to be amongst the most difficult to repair in the body. For the patients waiting for transplants and others suffering from renal disease the breakthrough represents tremendous hope. For some, the eventual application in practice may come too late, but for others there is renewed hope for a better and healthier future. Most patients suffering from renal disease at present rely on organ transplants and dialysis to survive and the usage of stem cells as regenerative medicine can thus in the near future help millions of people to live better lives without having to undergo expensive organ transplants. At present many patients die while waiting for suitable organs and this breakthrough may thus save millions of lives in future. Stem cells have been used in many clinical trials with tremendous success and have also been applied in therapies relating to brain tissue regeneration and blood cell renewal. Storage of Umbilical Cord Blood & Tissue for Future Application Cryo-Save continues to be involved in research and awareness development regarding stem cell applications and actively promotes the storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue for future applications. Where the stem cells of the patient are used the chances for success increase tremendously and the risk of rejection is reduced to almost zero. Parents can thus invest in the medical future of their children by storing the umbilical cord blood and tissue of their newborn babies at the Cryo-Save banking facilities.  Should their children, even as adults ever develop renal disease they will already have stored stem cells that can be used for regeneration of damaged kidney tissue without having to rely on donors for stem cells or for organs.

Stem Cells Cord Blood

Stem Cells, Cord Blood and Storage for Future Medical Applications are Here to Stay Stem cells from cord blood are the cells harvested from the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after the child is born and the umbilical cord clamped off. The cells are stored by means of cryopreservation for treatment of diseases and disorders including various cancers and life threatening conditions. The stem cells are transplanted to the patient when needed and can also be used for treatment of conditions suffered by immediate family members. If the cells from the cord blood are used for the donor as patient, the risk of rejection of the transplanted cells is eliminated. Benefits of the Technology The advantages of using stem cells from cord blood are numerous. Whereas bone marrow transplants require a high level HLA match, cord blood transplants require a less closely match. With the storage system used for preserving cord blood, the cells are readily available for usage when the patient or a close family member needs such. The cells can be stored for a long period without the loss of integrity and thus usefulness. Cord blood is rich in stem cells and is used in the treatment of more than 70 types of diseases, including several types of leukaemia. The potential treatments are endless and new application possibilities are now discovered on a regular basis. The retrieval method is harmless to the mother and child as retrieval is only done once the baby is born and the umbilical cord clamped off. With cryopreservation the cells can be stored for years to come and diseases not yet treatable may in future also be treatable through stem cell therapies. Where other medicine fall short, stem cell applications may help to renew, regenerate and repair damaged cells. Because of their ability to divide into new specialties, the potential is enormous. Possible Treatments Several studies and successful treatments have already made headlines including successful applications in treating autism, brain injuries, hearing loss, and blood related diseases. When the patient’s own cells are used the risk of rejection is eliminated, making it important for parents to store the umbilical cord blood of their newborns as investments for possible applications to in future treat their children for life threatening diseases. Clinical trials for treatment of Diabetes 1 with stem cell infusion have shown that such treatments for Diabetes 1 are safe. Possibilities for cardiovascular treatments are promising. Ongoing research is done on umbilical cord blood usage and with the potential already identified; parents are encouraged to pro-actively store the cells from cord blood for future use at facilities such as Cryo-Save.

Stem Cells Storage – Stem Cells Storage Process and Value for Future Treatments

Stem Cells Storage Process and Value for Future Treatments Stem cells storage entails the retrieval and banking of stem cells through a special preservation method that allows for storage for several years. The cells stored can be used to treat several diseases and may in future be used for even more therapies for life threatening conditions where existing medicine falls short in curing the patient. Two types of stem cells storage facilities exist:
  • Public
  • Private
Public stem cell banks store the samples provided by donors for usage by any member of public that may need the cells for a treatment and is a match for the donor cells. A private storage bank, such as Cryo-Save South Africa, offers the storage facility for clients only and the cells are immediately available for usage by the donor and the immediate family of the donor. With private stem cells storage an initial fee for retrieval, processing, and storage is asked and then an annual fee is payable for the storage. Why Parents Make Use of Private Storage With public storage of stem cells, there is no guarantee of a perfect match or one that meets the requirements. When the stem cells of a donor patient are used for a treatment of the patient then there is a 100% match and excellent chance of matching for siblings and the parents. The cells are immediately available for usage and transplant, which makes it possible to get immediate treatment for life threatening conditions. Cord Blood Collection The first step in the process of stem cell storage entails the collection of the umbilical cord blood and tissue cells from the newborn once the umbilical cord is clamped and mother & child attended to.  The procedure is risk and pain-free. A kit is provided to the staff and specific retrieval procedures are followed. Once completed the kit is sent to the relevant bank or in the case of Cryo-Save, collected from the mother’s bedside where relevant. Once the samples reach the stem cell storage lab, they are analysed, processed and then stored after the technician has discussed the quality and quantity retrieved with the parents. A certificate is issued and record created for the samples. Use of Stem Cells The stored cells can be used at present in the treatment of over 70 diseases and conditions. With new breakthroughs in research, clinical trials and applications now a regular occurrence, even more conditions may be successfully treated in future. Parents thus prepare for the medical and health future of their child by ensuring that the material is available for treatments when and if the child or siblings need such in future. Even if the child gets sick as an adult the cells will still be available without loss of quality because of the cryopreservation method used.

Save Stem Cells – Reasons to Save Stem Cells

Reasons to Save Stem Cells and Possible New Developments Highlighted by Latest Applications A recent technological breakthrough has shown more reason to save stem cells for future applications. According to news reports a team of researchers has been able to create stem cells of a planned size and shape through the use of 3D printer applications. The new development was spearheaded by the research team of Heriot Watt University in the USA and although specific application is not yet possible, the development has raised hope that in future full scale tissue printing may be possible. With such then organ transplants may depend less on donors in future. The printer creates 3D spheroids through a process that involves the usage of bio ink from embryonic cell cultures allowing for the ink to become stem cells instead of other types of material. Personalised Stem Cells In another breakthrough personalised stem cells have been created through the use of a patient’s own blood which could be used for the treatment of various diseases. The medical research team of the University of Cambridge expressed their hope that the patient’s own blood may become the safest source of stem cells for tissue growth applications. According to the team, the cells can divide into any other type of cell to help repair specific organ tissue including the heart. The team has proven that it can be possible to take cells from the adult skin and manipulate such to become stem cells, able to differentiate into the type of cells the scientists want. This has far reaching applications for adults who are no longer in the position to have children and to save their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for treatments of various conditions. The downside of adult stem cell usage is that the adult has already been exposed to various conditions and the quality and ability of cells to regenerate have already been compromised in a way. Hope for Expecting Parents For expecting parents there is still the chance to save stem cells from the umbilical cord blood and tissue of their newborn child. It is considered better to save the stem cells as early as possible before the cells can be compromised by diseases later in life. With the excellent quality of the cells and their regenerative capabilities not compromised, the child has a well preserved group of stem cells which can be used in treatments for diseases the child may develop later in life even as adult. With the storage facilities available at Cryo-Save parents can pro-actively save stem cells of their newborns to be used by the patients themselves and their immediate siblings or parents.

Cryo-Save – Stem Cell Bank SA

Importance of a stem cell bank in SA for future parents Cryo-Save, the stem cell bank SA has long waited for, is actively involved in spreading awareness about the benefits associated with umbilical cord blood storage and stem cell therapies. Although for most of us adults the window of opportunity to store completely untainted and uncompromised stem cells for future medical treatments has been closed, we can do it for our children. Indeed, adult stem cells can also be used, but with years of exposure to ageing, environmental risks, and disease, the cells simply don’t have the same regenerative quality as stem cells harvested from the umbilical cord blood of newborns. The retrieval process, being completely safe and harmless to mother and child is followed by processing of the samples at one of the Cryo-Save labs. The technicians analyse the quantity and quality before discussing such with the parents. The parents then have the choice of saving the cells or disregarding such. Countless successful trials and therapies have been carried out over the last couple of years, showing that stem cells are able to generate into new specialties. SA now also has such facilities through Cryo-Save, offering parents the opportunity to invest in the medical future of their children.  Sickle cell anaemia treatment with stem-cell technology Recent news reports about a four year old who has suffered from two strokes in just six months, shows the need to use revolutionary new techniques to address dreaded conditions such as sickle cell anaemia. He was born with the condition and even through his struggles he has shown his intense will to overcome. His parents at the time of writing have been trying to obtain the necessary funding for a stem cell transplant that has the potential of reducing the effects of the disorder and perhaps even cure the condition. The treatment process will include in vitro fertilisation for his mother. The medical team will need to implant only the genetically matched cells retrieved from the baby’s umbilical cord after the birth of the baby. The family hopes to be able to also treat the patient’s younger sister, also suffering from the condition.  Why save? With proactive saving of umbilical cord blood cells at a storage facility as offered by Cryo-Save for the purpose, parents thus invest not only in the medical future of their newborn babies, but also that of the siblings.

Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood bank and therapy potential for lung disease treatment in newborns Although still a new concept for most people, cord blood banking has been around for a while. It’s however, only recently that it has become more prominent in the news. Recent news reports highlighted the importance of saving stem cells through facilities such as Cryo-Save for future medical use. According to reports, Dr. B. Thébaud, an Ottawa-based scientist, recently proposed the setting up of a neonatal intensive care unit for treatment of diseases affecting infants through the use of umbilical cord blood cells. The disease he wants to treat is that of BPD which stands for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. It’s a lung disease, for which up to present, no permanent cure has been found.

Cord Blood Banking of newborns

Medical team Dr. Thébaud is also senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute apart from his role as neonatologist at CHEO Research Institute.  His credentials speak for themselves as he is furthermore a Professor at the University of Ottawa at the Faculty of Medicine. He believes that with the teams of scientists and medical specialists at the institutions mentioned, it will be possible to get a cure for BPD through the use of stem cells. With more than 10 000 premature infants in the USA & Canada alone affected by the disease yearly, it becomes clear why it’s so important to find an alternative and workable therapy for the condition. Condition With the premature babies struggling with underdeveloped lungs, they require additional oxygen by means of artificial assistance through a machine. Unfortunately the method of supplying them with mechanical ventilation also causes some lung damage. The result is that the lungs don’t develop and they then have to stay in the hospital for a longer period. This in turn causes developmental problems for all parts of their bodies, especially the brain. Published findings The team, under leadership of Dr. Thébaud, published the results of experiments conducted on rats in the Thorax journal. They concluded with some very important findings, one of which is that umbilical cord blood stem cells seem to protect the lungs against the effects of the oxygen treatment. The cells, referred to as MSCs (mesenchymal stromal cells) have also shown to have repairing properties when injected 14 days after oxygen treatment. Several other important findings have been published by the team showing the extreme potential of umbilical cord blood stem cells in helping the premature infants during and after the oxygen treatments. Dr. Thébaud has also indicated that he wishes to do a pilot study in future with twenty human patients to show that MSC therapy will be beneficial and safe. Cord blood banking plays an important role in such therapies since parents get to save the stem cells of cord blood from their newborn babies and in instances where the babies or siblings may need such treatments in future, they will already have the necessary matching cells available. Source: Stem Cells from Umbilical Cord to Fight Lung Disease in Newborn Babies – Medindia