In order to raise public awareness on the biological value of umbilical cord blood and the possibility of its long-term storage, November 17 is a World Cord Blood Day.
Cord blood biobanking is supported by the most reputable international organizations, including the Red Cross, and almost all religious confessions in the world. In most U.S. states, maternity hospitals staff are required to inform women in labor about the possibility of storing umbilical cord blood in private biobanks for their own family or to donate it to public banks. The latter will transfer the processed donor umbilical cord blood to patients to whom it is suitable immunologically.
“Liquid gold of medicine”, “the greatest success story in the biotechnology”, “gift of life”, “gift of nature” this is not all how umbilical cord blood was called during 32 years of its successful use for the treatment of diseases! After all, the cellular composition of umbilical cord blood is more similar to bone marrow than peripheral blood, because it contains a large number of hematopoietic stem cells – CD34 +.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplant, better known as bone marrow transplant, is the only treatment for some malignant and genetic diseases of the blood and metabolism. In 1988, the world’s first successful transplant of the umbilical cord blood instead of a bone marrow was performed in France. Subsequently, umbilical cord blood transplants became part of medical protocols, and today more than 40,000 such applications have been performed in hematology alone. In Japan alone, several thousand umbilical cord blood transplants are performed annually.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells in clinical trials are also used in the treatment of autism, cerebral palsy, pulmonary dysplasia, cardiovascular disease and others. The efficacy of umbilical cord blood stem cells and umbilical cord in the treatment of COVID-19 is studied.
Ukrainian scientists have also achieved significant success in this direction. In particular, scientists and doctors of the Institute of Cell Therapy have developed methods for treating complications of COVID-19, diabetes, viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, critical ischemia of the lower extremities, osteoarthritis, acute pancreatitis using the stem cells of the perinatal tisuues (umbilical cord, placenta, umbilical cord blood).
In Ukraine, the Association of Cryobanks annually supports World Cord Blood Day, and encourages expectant parents to use the services of only licensed umbilical cord blood banks (licensed by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine). An additional advantage for the biobank will also be the availability of international accreditations.