CBR & ITxM Partner to Advance Awareness of Cord Blood Banking Options

SAN BRUNO, CA & PITTSBURGH, PA - February 5, 2014 – Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) and The Institute for Transfusion Medicine℠ (ITxM℠) announce the launch of a multi-year initiative to provide education and guidance to expectant parents regarding options for cord blood banking and donation. The campaign will support efforts by health care professionals to inform families as to the distinction between the private and public banking systems and also supply balanced information on current therapies and future clinical indications for treatments using cord blood stem cells.

Over the last two decades, the field of cord blood banking has grown exponentially. Stem cells derived from cord blood have been used in more than 30,000 transplants performed worldwide for the treatment of more than 80 diseases and disorders in both adults and children. Once universally regarded as medical waste, cord blood stem cells may have the potential for medical applications not previously imagined. Research being conducted through FDA-regulated clinical trials continues to enhance the field of regenerative medicine and seeks to expand the potential scope of newborn stem cell therapies that may be available to patients and their families.

"The decision to store privately or donate to a public bank remains a personal decision for each family," underscores Geoff Crouse, President & Chief Executive Officer of Cord Blood Registry. "As the use of cord blood continues to expand in medical therapeutics and research uncovers more potential for this stem cell source, active patient education and counseling regarding cord blood banking options is critical to advancing awareness and expediting life-saving research," adds Crouse.

Concurrent with the imperative to assist families in making an informed decision about the current and future therapeutic value of cord blood is the development of models that seek to expand the reach of public cord blood programs. The collaboration between ITxM and CBR is an innovative approach to broadening outreach to patients and confronting the challenges associated with increasing donations of ethnically diverse and high-quality cord blood units.

"As a national leader in cord blood education, recruitment, and collections, ITxM is committed to helping families preserve their baby's cord blood so those in need have access to the lifesaving benefits that newborn stem cells offer," notes James Covert, President and Chief Executive Officer of ITxM. "We are proud to partner with CBR as part of our goal to educate parents on their cord blood banking options," adds Covert.

In 2005, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a comprehensive report to Congress on cord blood banking. The report contained clear recommendations that healthcare professionals should provide all expectant parents with fair and balanced education on cord blood preservation prior to labor and delivery, thereby enabling families to make an informed choice regarding their options: preserve the stem cells for future family use, donate the cells for public use or research, or dispose of the cord blood. The IOM's recommendations have prompted federal legislation as well as regulations in more than 20 states that support informed choice.

Cord Blood Registry is committed to ensuring that all expectant parents have a source of unbiased information so that they can make an informed decision to save, donate, or discard their babies' stem cells. Visit cordbankingbasics.com to learn more. Similarly, The Institute for Transfusion Medicine is dedicated to providing expectant parents with comprehensive information and educational materials regarding cord blood donation. Visit givecord.org to learn more.