More Donations Needed As Nation Marks Cord Blood Awareness Month
Data shows that 70 percent of families will not have a matching donor in their family; By 2015, 10,000 cord blood transplants projected to be performed worldwide per year using publicly banked cord blood
DAVIS, Calif., July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — July is designated as Cord Blood Awareness Month by the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The national health observance aims to foster greater public recognition of cord blood donation options and to highlight that cord blood stem cells have been utilized in the treatment of more than 80 different hematological disorders.
While the demand and utilization of cord blood units are surging, donation is only available at approximately 180 collection sites in the United States. As a result, cord blood from approximately 96% of the nation’s four million annual births is discarded.
Expanding public cord blood collection and banking is no simple task. Effective outreach to diverse communities and the development of innovative approaches to donor recruitment will require strong collaboration.
As part of this effort, the Cord Blood Forum is strengthening its programs and strategies to raise continual awareness of the vital need for more cord blood donations. Based in California, the Cord Blood Forum is a 501(c)(3) private foundation committed to advancing physician education and public awareness of the potential and uses of cord blood medical therapies.
Last month, in conjunction with the 11th Annual International Cord Blood Symposium, the Cord Blood Forum partnered with the National Marrow Donor Program® to examine efforts to expand current public banking activities and address inequities in the access of minorities to cord blood transplants.
Each year, cord blood transplants are needed by thousands of patients with blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. The search for a suitable donor match can be more challenging for mixed-heritage patients. Accordingly, there is an urgent need for cord blood units from racially and ethnically diverse populations to increase the likelihood that all patients will find the match they need. Studies show that patient outcomes are improved when patients closely match the donated cells. Additionally, patients are more likely to match someone who shares their ancestry.
“Increasing the number, quality, and diversity of cord blood units will help to provide broader access for patients who require a transplant. A wider public dialogue regarding the potential and uses of cord blood that engages providers, patients, and donors is necessary to solidify national support for broadening collection and banking,” notes Brian Plummer, Executive Director of the Cord Blood Forum.
2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the first cord blood transplantation. Since 1988, the field of cord blood banking and transplantation has grown exponentially. Over 600,000 cord blood units have been stored for transplantation worldwide, and over 30,000 transplants have been performed. The National Institutes of Health lists more than 150 ongoing clinical trials investigating cord blood stem cell-based therapy for a variety of diseases. Continued support for cord blood donation and research is essential to improving the treatment of disease.
Learn more about cord blood research and advocate to expand public collection and banking by connecting via Twitter @CordBloodForum. The public can help promote Cord Blood awareness using the following hashtags: #CordBloodAware, #CordBlood, #StemCells, and #CordBloodAwareness
Media Contact: Wendy Roberts, Director of PR, Orca Communications Unlimited, LLC, 480-346-4004, firstname.lastname@example.org
News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com
SOURCE Cord Blood Forum