One of the tasks of the Association of banks of the umbilical cord blood, other human tissues and cells is to promote the awareness of the population and, above all, the medical community about the value of perinatal tissues (umbilical cord blood, placenta, umbilical cord), modern approaches to the cryopreservation of different populations of stem cells and the use of cell drugs in practical medicine. As part of its regular educational activities, the Association of Cryobanks in 2019, as well as annually, supported the “Cord Blood Awareness Month” and “November 15 – World Cord Blood Day”.
Despite the recognition of the undeniable biological value of cord blood stem cells by the international medical community, which has already been confirmed by 40,000 transplants, tons of umbilical cord blood are disposed of annually in the world together with other medical waste. Unfortunately, the reason for this is not only the high cost of stem cell cryopreservation, but also the banal ignorance that cord blood can save lives.
The purpose of World Cord Blood Day is to raise awareness among future parents, physicians, NGOs, and the government of all countries about the possibilities of long-term storage and clinical use of cord blood and its preparations.
Today, in medicine, cord blood is used in the following aspects:
- hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell transplants
- cultured hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells
- plasma preparations (“artificial tear”, etc.)
- T lymphocytes (for the destruction of malignant cells)
- platelet gel (for the treatment of wounds)
- to obtain iPS cells
Acknowledging the World Cord Blood Day, the Association of Cryobanks offers to mention the most important achievements in the history of cord blood banking and its clinical use.
1908, O. Maksimov discovered a hematopoietic stem cell.
1933, in Ukraine M.S. Malinowski performed one of the world’s first cord blood transfusions to compensate blood loss.
1956, Donnal Thomas, the future Nobel Laureate, performed the world’s first successful transplantation of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of leukemia.
1974, Danish scientist S. Knudzon proved that umbilical cord blood contains the same stem cells as the bone marrow.
1970-1980’s, Hal Broxmeyer (USA) proved the suitability of umbilical cord blood for the application in oncohematology instead of the bone marrow.
1984, the first cord blood samples in Europe are preserved in Ukraine.
1988, in Paris (France), prof. Elian Gluckman performed the world’s first cord blood hematopoietic stem cell transplant, a patient Matthew Farrow till now has been enjoying a fulfilling life.
1992, the world’s first cord blood bank was established at the New York Blood Center in the United States.
1999, the journal Science named the discovery of stem cells the third most important one in the history of biology.
2003, the first umbilical cord blood bank at the Institute of Cell Therapy was established in Ukraine.
2006, the European Association for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation officially recognized cord blood as equivalent to bone marrow.
2008, the number of cord blood applications in adults exceeded that in children.
2010, the European Association for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation confirmed the equivalence of cord blood to bone marrow.
2012, the number of cord blood applications in the world exceeds the number of bone marrow applications.
2013, there are 480 cord blood banks operating in the world.
2014, the number of unrelated cord blood stem cell transplants was 90% of the total number of such operations performed.
2016, more than 3 million umbilical cord blood samples are stored in the world’s biobanks, of which 650,000 are in public and 2.5 million are in family-type banks.
2019, the number of cord blood hematopoietic stem cell transplants has exceeded 40,000.