Is the collection of the umbilical cord blood and cord tissue a simple procedure?
The collection of the umbilical cord blood and cord tissue occurs immediately after childbirth and is a technically simple and quick procedure, which poses no risk to the health of the mother or the newborn. The collection process is identical for natural childbirth or caesarean section. All necessary equipment for collection are inside Stem Health’s collection kit. It is highly desirable to collect a sufficient volume of cord blood, which is likely to ensure a high number of stem cells.
Until what age and how many times could my child use his stem cells?
This depends on the patient’s condition.
Age is not a restriction to the use of transplants. Crucial is the patient’s weight in combination with the number of stem cells that have been stored.
In case that the number of stem cells is not adequate for the patient;s weight, co-transplantation with bone marrow graft is possible. Furthermore, preclinical studies are already being carried ou for the propagation of stem cells.
The mesenchymal stem cells of umbilical cord tissue can be propagated in the laboratory.
How do you ensure safe transportation to the laboratory?
Stem-Health in order to ensure successful isolation and storage of stem cells, co-operates with couriers throughout Greece, who after being informed by the parents, receive and transport the sample, as quickly as possible.
Under what conditions are the samples kept until they are picked up for the maternity hospital?
Cord blood should be kept at room temperature while umbilical cord tissue is kept at 40C. The collection kit contains a special collection packaging that protects from temperature changes. In addition, a data logger included in the kit records the temperature of the graft until it reaches the laboratory.
Why is it required for the mother to undertake blood examination?
Mother’s blood collection is obligatory so as to undertake laboratory blood tests to screen for possible pre-existing contamination of the mother, which can affect the umbilical cord blood or/and umbilical cord tissue. The collection of maternal blood is preferably performed together with the sample collection. The test covers the following infections: HTLVI-II, HIVI-II, HBV, HCV, CMV and syphilis. We also examine the blood type of the mother.
Is it necessary to fill in a medical history?
Yes. In this way the bank is informed about pre-existing infections or diseases. In addition, if the graft is going to be used for transplantation, the questionnaire can be given to the doctor for a complete background of the transplant-donor
What happens if a sample is contaminated?
In these cases there is an antibiogram which exhibits that several infections are treated successfully with antibiotics. However, if parents wish, they can continue to store the sample or destroy it.
Who can use the hematopoietic stem cells transplant unit?
Each case is unique and should be analyzed separately.
The unit can be used:
- from the donor child (autologous transplantation) with no rejection complications whatsoever,
- From a compatible sibling (allogeneic transplantation). The probability that two siblings are fully compatible is 25%. The graft from a compatible sibling is always the first choice, even in cases of partial compatibility,
- from a third person who is compatible with the donor (unrelated allogeneic transplant) if the transplant is stored for public use.
For mesenchymal stem cells, the histocompatibility restrictions are fewer.
Are there any categories of families for which the storage of stem cells is particularly recommended?
Yes. The global graft biorepository is limited. The storage of stem cells is particularly important for families with a history of hereditary blood diseases, of diseases of the immune system, or any other diseases that can potentially be treated with cord blood stem cells transplantation. Additionally the storage of stem cells for minority ethnic groups and for descendants of mixed couples is very important since there is a worldwide shortage of available public units for these racial profiles.
Finally, it is important to store stem cells of IVF babies when either the oocyte (egg) or the sperm have been donated by a third party and thus, the availability of compatible units from within the family is more difficult.
If a family donates the cord blood of their child, does this family have a priority in finding a compatible unit from public banks?
Public storage is not a priority criterion in the search for a compatible graft in public banks.
Private storage is not an exclusion criterion from the search for a compatible graft in public banks.
If a family donates a transplant unit and later on needs a graft, they will follow the same process of searching a compatible transplant.
What does a parent need to do prior to the birth if he wishes to bank the stem cells of his newborn?
If you wish to collect the transplant of your child you should contact the parental consultants of the bank and they will guide you appropriately.