September 13-15, 2019, Cord Blood Connect-2019, an international cord blood congress, was held in Miami (USA). This important international event was attended by more than 300 doctors, scientists and representatives of the biobanking industry from 33 countries of the world.
The Congress was organized by the Cord Blood Association with the active support of the World Bone Marrow Donor Association and other reputable profile organizations.
Congress was opened by Paris-based hematologist Elian Gluckman, who completed the world’s first cord blood transplant in 1988. Elian Gluckman delivered a lecture “Lessons from the Past” that summarized more than 30 years of successful clinical use of cord blood. Matthew Ferrow, now a healthy man, attended the congress, and 31 years ago, he was the world’s first patient to have an umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant for the treatment of Fanconi anemia.
Within the framework of the Congress, the Cord Blood Association has awarded a lifetime award for the achievements in the field of cord blood research to one more industry leader – Professor Hal Broxmeyer. It is the results of Dr. Broxmeyer’s research in the far 70-80s of the twentieth century that found that cord blood could be an alternative to bone marrow for the treatment of patients who have been indicated hematopoietic stem cells transplant.
Other important reports were devoted to the latest approaches to the use of umbilical cord blood in practical medicine in children and adults, as well as relevant aspects of organizing the work of biobanks. Considerable attention was paid to the quality of cord blood stem cell transplants, their proper screening before clinical use, and transportation to clinical centers.
In addition to the well-known preparations derived from umbilical cord blood (hematopoietic stem cell transplants, umbilical cord blood T-lymphocytes, platelet gel or artificial tear), a new drug that contains umbilical cord blood macrophages was presented by scientists of the Duke University (USA). This drug is promising for the treatment of genetically determined diseases of metabolism.
Among the latest approaches to cell and tissue biobanking, Australian scientists have presented the experience of organizing a bank of induced pluripotent stem cell lines , derived from umbilical cord blood. In 2012, Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka and British scientist John Gerdon won the Nobel Prize for reprogramming adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. The clinical value of induced pluripotent stem cells lies in their unlimited potential, and cord blood has proven to be an ideal source for iPS cells.
Within the framework of the congress, thematic workshops and training of inspectors of the cord blood biobanking industry were held.
In Ukraine, the mission of the Association of Cryobanks of Umbilical Cord Blood, Other Human Tissues and Cells is to promote biobanking in accordance with international standards. To date, one Cryobank of Ukraine, operating since 2003 at the Institute of Cell Therapy, has already received international accreditation of ISO 9001: 2015. Also, since 2008, clinical trials have been conducted in Ukraine to study the safety and efficacy of stem cells in the treatment of diseases under the auspices of the Coordination Center for Transplantation of Organs, Cells and Tissues of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.