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Cord Blood Bank

Expectant mothers delivering at St. Joesph’s Health Hospital can now donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood to the Upstate Cord Blood Bank

Parents delivering at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Hospital now have the opportunity to donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood to Upstate Cord Blood Bank at Upstate Medical University.

“St. Joseph’s Health is proud to partner with Upstate’s Cord Blood Bank on this initiative,” says John Bowen, MD, medical director of the Women & Children’s Department at St. Joseph’s Health Hospital.

“We are pleased to be able to now offer our cord blood collection services to the parents delivering at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center,” said Matthew Elkins, MD, PhD, medical director of the Upstate Cord Blood Bank. “Through their generous donations of their child’s cord blood, they are helping others in need, either through transplantation or further medical research.”

Crouse Hospital provided its families an opportunity to donate cord blood to the Upstate Cord Blood Bank last July.

Umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after childbirth. Cord blood that is not donated is discarded as medical waste. It is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells that have the potential of being used in the treatment of dozens of diseases, like blood cancers and bone marrow diseases such as sickle cell anemia.

The bank will collect, test, process, store and distribute umbilical cord blood donated by families throughout central and northern New York to be used by those in need of life-saving medical treatments and for medical research. 

The Upstate Cord Blood Bank will operate under strict guidelines and protocols, established by state and federal health organizations, including the state Health Department, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), AABB and the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).

How is cord blood donated
There is no pain for the mother or baby associated with cord blood donation and their safety is not compromised during the delivery. Once a mother has delivered her baby and after the umbilical cord is clamped and cut as is done with all deliveries, a medical provider will insert a needle into the umbilical vein that is still attached to the placenta. The process, which takes less than 10 minutes, yields about 3 to 5 ounces of cord blood, which is then sent to the Upstate Cord Blood Bank for testing, processing and storage.

Treatments with cord blood
Stem cells from umbilical cord blood, researchers say, may be more suitable for transplants than the more common stem cells taken from bone marrow as treatment for various cancers. Umbilical cord blood has an underdeveloped immune cell system providing less of a chance that the transplanted cells will attack the recipient’s immune system. Hematopoietic stem cells are capable of forming all different types of blood forming cells in the human body. They are used to treat some cancers, metabolic disorders and immunodeficiency diseases, and bone marrow disorders, such as sickle cell anemia. Cord blood is rich in these hematopoietic stem cells.

Research with cord blood
Umbilical cord blood stem cells will be valuable for medical research, in studies seeking to advance new treatments for cancer and using cord blood to treat and cure diseases that are not cancers, that is, in regenerative medicine applications. These latter applications may regenerate new tissues such as heart, muscle, skin, and neuronal tissues. Some Upstate researchers have expressed an interest in working with stem cells from umbilical cord blood. An available supply of cord blood would enhance and expedite research studies on finding new treatments for various diseases.