Cord Blood Registry Announces Formation of Scientific & Medical Advisory Board

SAN BRUNO, CA – February 3, 2015 – Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) announces the establishment of a Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB). Composed of internationally renowned stem cell experts, the SMAB will provide input and guidance to help advance CBR's mission to expand the scope of newborn stem cell therapies that may be available to patients and their families. The founding members of the SMAB are Dr. Charles Cox, Dr. Mahendra Rao, Dr. Leslie Silberstein and Dr. Alan Trounson. Dr. Rao will serve as the inaugural chairman of the SMAB, and he will also be acting as CBR's chief clinical and regulatory advisor.


Mahendra Rao, MD, PhD, is the Vice President for Regenerative Medicine at The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute. Previously, Dr. Rao served as the Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Center for Regenerative Medicine. Prior to his period of service at the NIH, Dr. Rao spent six years as the Vice President of Regenerative Medicine at Life Technologies, Inc. (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) after serving as the Chief of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging and co-founding Q Therapeutics, a neural stem cell company based in Utah. Dr. Rao is tenured at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, in both Neurobiology and Anatomy.


Charles S. Cox, Jr, MD, is the George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Neurosciences, as well as the Director of the Children's Program in Regenerative Medicine and Professor of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Cox also directs the Pediatric Trauma Program at the University of Texas-Houston/Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. UT Health, under the direction of Dr. Cox, is enrolling patients in an FDA-regulated clinical trial investigating the safety and efficacy of an intravenous infusion of cord blood stem cells to treat cerebral palsy in children.


Leslie Silberstein, MD, is a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Silberstein also serves as the Director of the Joint Program in Transfusion Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In addition, Dr. Silberstein is the Director of the Center for Human Cell Therapy at the Immune Disease Institute/Programs in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston. Previously, Dr. Silberstein established an academic transfusion medicine division with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. During his tenure at UPenn, Dr. Silberstein also served as Director of the Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine Section, and Associate Director, Bone Marrow Transplant Program.


Alan Trounson, PhD, MSc, is an Emeritus Professor at Monash University, a Distinguished Scientist at Monash-Prince Henry's Institute for Medical Research, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Trounson previously served as President of The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the largest scientific funding body for stem cell research in the world. Prior to joining CIRM in January 2008, Dr. Trounson was Professor of Stem Cell Sciences and Director of the Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University. Dr. Trounson founded the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence – Australian Stem Cell Centre.


"We have assembled an impressive group of thought leaders who have unparalleled clinical and research experience in all aspects of stem cell science," explains Heather Brown, MS, CGC, Vice President of Scientific and Medical Affairs at Cord Blood Registry. "The SMAB will provide strategic guidance on current issues that will contribute greatly to CBR's continued progress in research and clinical development," adds Brown.


CBR's staff of certified genetic counselors further reinforces the company's commitment to advancing stem cell science and serve as a trusted resource for families interested in learning about newborn stem cell research and clinical applications. Through family health history screening, CBR's genetic counselors identify families who may benefit from cord blood banking, including offering access through the Newborn Possibilities Program®, CBR's free banking program for directed donor and certain high-risk pregnancies. In addition, the team of certified counselors identifies and assists families eligible to participate in FDA-regulated clinical trials, communicates directly with families in need of a cord blood transplant, and informs clients of their options if their cord blood unit does not adhere to CBR quality standards.


"We are extremely fortunate to be able to collaborate with four of the world's leading stem cell experts," notes Geoffrey Crouse, President and Chief Executive Officer at Cord Blood Registry. "The caliber of the newly established Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, along with the expertise of CBR's genetic counselors demonstrates the company's commitment to accelerating stem cell research and improving patients' lives," underscores Crouse.