24-27th October 2013, in the Principality of Monaco, the IV World Cord Blood Congress, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the first cord blood transplant, performed in October 1988 in Paris for the treatment of a child with Fanconi’s anemia by Professor Eliane Gluckman took place.
Since 1988, over 30,000 cord blood transplants were perfomed worldwide, having showed that the umbilical cord blood is not only comparable to bone marrow as a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, but also has some important advantages, in particular a lower risk of developing of the “graft-bersus-host syndrome” even in cases of incomplete immunological matching.
Prof. G. Koegler from Germany also noted that the umbilical cord blood is a perfect source for iPS-cells for the discovery of which scientists Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon in 2012 received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. In addition, cord blood provides unique population of mesenchymal stem cells for regenerative therapy and the cultivation of vessels.
The photo shows the first patient, who was perfomed the umbilical cord blood transplantation, collected at his sister’s birth, and actually is absolutely healthy and enjoying his full life (photo from the report of Prof. E. Gluckman on the World Cord Blood Congress in Monaco, 2013).
The importance of this event for the world’s medical and cultural community is confirmed by the fact that the opening ceremony of the Congress was attended by the representative of the State Minister of the Principality of Monaco, who greeted the participants and noted that progress in the field of cell therapy is extremely important for the whole world and it is a great honor for the Principality of Monaco to host such a high level event. The Congress was also attended by representatives of the Pontifical Academy of Life from Vatican, because cord blood is an absolutely ethical source of stem cells and approved by all the religions of the world.
The Congress was attended by about 300 participants from all over the world and all continents, including Europe, North and South America, Australia and Africa. The speakers and guests of the congress included both patriarchs in the use of umbilical cord blood, in particular prof. D. Kurtzberg (performed the world’s first unrelated cord blood transplantation), prof. H.E. Broxmeyer (described the biological properties of umbilical cord blood and suggested its use as an alternative to bone marrow), the president of the European Association for Bone Marrow Transplantation prof. A. Madrigal (made a significant contribution to the evaluation of the immunological properties of cord blood, in particular umbilical cord blood T-cells for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases) as well as medical practitioners, directors and employees of cord blood banks from all over the world.
A special session was devoted to umbilical cord blood banking, that has become an important part of the health care system in the developed world.
The representatives of the major specialized international associations, such as EUROCORD, the European Haematology Association, the European Association for Bone Marrow Transplantation took an active part in the Congress.
Association of Cryobanks of the Umbilical Cord Blood and Other Human Tissues and Cells (Ukraine) has been warmly received in Monaco by foreign colleagues. The Congress was also personally attended by Prof. Alejandro Madrigal, the President of the European Association for Bone Marrow Transplantation, with whom the representatives of the Association of Cryobanks of the Umbilical Cord Blood and Other Human Tissues and Cells had not only the opportunity to talk but Professor also kindly gave an interview to Ukrainian journal “Cell and Organ Transplantation“, that is published with the support of the Institute of Cell Therapy. Prof. Madrigal said, in particular, that he knows and appreciates the achievements of Ukrainian specialists in the field of stem cell research and supports their commitment to excellence and international integration. Dr. Susana Gomez, a senior researcher and director of the Anthony Nolan cord blood bank, created within the first and the largest registry of hematopoietic stem cells (London, UK) in the world also kindly shared her experience in the organization of public cord blood bank with Ukrainian colleagues for the journal “Cell and Organ Transplantation”.