The BUZZ: Cord Blood in Regenerative Medicine and Sports Medicine

The BUZZ: Cord Blood in Regenerative Medicine and Sports Medicine

Perhaps you’ve heard the buzz already regarding cord blood in regenerative medicine and sports medicine?

The use of stem cells in sports medicine is nothing new.  There are quite a few sports celebrities out there who have undergone treatments using adult stem cells. Yet, the use of cord blood and perinatal stem cells for sports injuries could open a new door of possibilities for those weekend warriors and professional athletes who find themselves desperate for treatment following an accident.  Meanwhile, using cord blood in regenerative medicine is showing real promise in treating cerebral palsy, hearing loss, autism. . . the list goes on. This is in addition to the 80+ diseases that doctors are already treating with cord blood stem cells, namely blood cancers.  Parents and medical professionals throughout the world need to be aware of the advances in regenerative medicine and sports medicine using cord blood and perinatal stem cells.

Recently, Save the Cord Foundation was pleased to interview Kyle Cetrulo, President of the Perinatal Stem Cell Society, about many of the current uses for cord blood and perinatal stem cells as well as the exciting research happening with regards to cerebral palsy. Many of the top experts in these areas will be speaking at the Perinatal Stem Cell Conference 2016, in which Save the Cord Foundation is also proud to be participating.

Video Cord Blood and Regenerative Medicine

During our interview, Mr. Cetrulo reminded our viewers how quickly the use of cord blood stem cells has developed and changed the way we treat numerous illnesses and diseases, in particular blood cancers.  Mr. Cetrulo has been working in the industry since the early days of cord blood transplants. He recalled early meetings in the 1990’s amongst the pioneers in this field where it was big news to have “one adult received a cord blood transplant” or “a sibling received a cord blood transplant.”

Times have indeed changed as we can proudly say that there have been more than 30,000 cord blood transplants worldwide since the first ever transplant in 1988. Today, doctors are using cord blood stem cells to treat a wide variety of diseases including sickle cell, lymphoma and leukemia.  Doctors are also beginning to use cord blood and perinatal stem cells in sports medicine for things like knee injuries.  We are witnessing a shift in medicine. We are seeing doctors learn how to truly repair damage, not just treat the symptoms.

Mr. Cetrulo feels strongly about the use of cord blood in regenerative medicine and, in particular, perinatal stem cells in sports medicine.

For this reason, he has put together a first of its kind panel discussion on this very topic to be hosted during the Perinatal Stem Cell Conference 2016.

Cord blood in sports medicine panel discussion

Perinatal Stem Cell Conference 2016: Sports Medicine Panel (Source: Perinatal Stem Cell Conference)

Mr. Cetrulo is also quite passionate about his advice to parents with regards to saving cord blood and perinatal stem cell tissues. He describes how he saved his children’s cord blood and related perinatal tissues (to the extent possible at the time) when they were born. He talks about the heartbreaking calls he receives from parents who wish they had saved their child’s cord blood at birth so that they could participate in a clinical trial now for things like cerebral palsy or autism.

In particular, Mr. Cetrulo cites the recent work of Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg (recently featured in our Share the Science series) who has made tremendous advances in using cord blood to potentially treat cerebral palsy. Indeed, Save the Cord Foundation has featured one of the children she treated, Luke Fryar, who received his cord blood transplant at 15 months and has shown dramatic recovery ever since. Examples like this demonstrate the importance of cord blood in regenerative medicine.

Cord blood research is moving quickly. At times, we have the impression that it is the “cure all.” It is not. However, it is clearly a valuable medical resource. It is not unlike bone marrow in this respect.  Both are used to treat cancers. Both may be used to treat a patient for a variety of illnesses. However, both are not collected or stored in the same manner. Bone marrow donors swab their cheek and wait to see if one day they are called to help a patient in need. In complete contrast, cord blood and the various perinatal tissues are thrown away in the majority of births unless they are collected and stored cryogenically. Clearly, throwing cord blood away is a waste — a waste of a very valuable medical resource.  This resource could help you, a member of your family or a stranger in need.

We hope that parents and doctors will watch this interview with Mr. Cetrulo and consider all of the current applications for cord blood to treat 80+ diseases as well as the numerous potential applications using cord blood in regenerative medicine and sports medicine.

Give life twice. Save the cord.

*We wish to thank the Perinatal Stem Cell Society for making this interview possible. For more information on the 2016 Perinatal Stem Cell Conference, please click here.

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NEWS:  North Carolina Cancer Hospital Helps Judge Fight Cancer With Cord Blood Transplant

NEWS: North Carolina Cancer Hospital Helps Judge Fight Cancer With Cord Blood Transplant

The North Carolina Cancer Hospital is helping Judge Carl Fox, 61, fight cancer thanks to a cord blood transplant. At Save the Cord Foundation, we have been actively following this story of an amazing man and an equally amazing team of doctors.

Judge Fox was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a cancer “in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells” (source:  The cord blood transplant was performed in the Fall of 2015 at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital following a desperate and ultimately unsuccessful search for a bone marrow donor.


Judge Fox was very instrumental during that time in increasing awareness around the lack of ethnic diverse bone marrow donors through numerous local bone marrow drives. Indeed, those drives have helped others but his doctors were still unable to find a match for him. Ultimately, his team of doctors at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital decided to look for a cord blood donor because there are fewer matching criteria. There is a history of doctors using cord blood to treat myelodysplastic syndrome successfully and the doctors at North Carolina Cancer Hospital following Judge Fox’s case were hopeful that this would help him.

Move forward to December 2015, just a few months after the cord blood transplant and Judge Fox is recuperating nicely.  With plans to head back to work in early 2016, he is very grateful to those who have helped him.


Judge Fox’s story highlights why we need to provide all expectant parents the option of saving their baby’s cord blood. Collecting cord blood is totally safe in the majority of births and does not hurt the mother or child. However, it is not practiced in every hospital.  This is often due to a lack of funds and sometimes logistics. But, it can also be due to a lack of understanding and awareness of how cord blood is being used today.

Since 1988, there have been more than 30,000 cord blood transplants. “Today, 15% of transplant patients receive cord blood that was generously donated to a public cord blood bank. . .In 2014, 29 % of  cord blood transplants were for minority patients.” (source: Be The Match). Cord blood has been officially recognized to treat 80+ diseases including many blood cancers.

It is a valuable medical resource which should not be thrown away. Whether you donate or privately bank your baby’s cord blood, that is up to you. Both are good options. However, please don’t throw it away. Give life twice. #Savethecord.


Save your baby’s cord blood. Find the closest family bank or cord blood donation program near you on our interactive map.  You can also refer to our list of public and private cord blood banks worldwide.

Give life twice. Save the Cord.

Cord blood can be collected in the majority of births.

Share the Science with Dr. Michael Chez:  Using Autologous Cord Blood in Autism

Share the Science with Dr. Michael Chez: Using Autologous Cord Blood in Autism

(Update: This event has passed. If you would like additional information on this particular presentation, please contact Save the Cord Foundation.)

Latest Research on Using Cord Blood for Autism:  On February 19th, 2016 we will have the pleasure of hosting Dr. Michael Chez, director of Pediatric Research at Sutter Neurological Research Consortium and director of the Pediatric Epilepsy and Autism programs in Sutter Health’s Sacramento Region, for an exclusive Share the Science event during the BMT Tandem Meetings 2016 in Hawaii.

READ THE PRESS RELEASE: BMT Tandem Share the Science press release 

We are really looking forward to this presentation because Dr. Chez will present some early insight into his groundbreaking research involving the first US clinical trials using cord blood to potentially treat autism.

Dr. Chez will discuss new clinical applications for using stem cell therapies and autologous cord blood to potentially treat autism (autologous cord blood is your own cord blood).

This Share the Science presentation will take place during the BMT Tandem Meetings 2016 (registration is required):

EXCLUSIVE LIVE EVENT: Hawaii Convention Center, Ballroom A
Honolulu, HI | Friday, February 19th, 2016 | 7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time

REGISTER HERE for Share the Science with Dr. Chez


Would you like to join us for our next Share the Science webinar? It’s easy. Simply click here and register.

You can also enjoy free access to our full archive of previous presentations from leading experts like Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg from Duke, Michael Boo from NMDP, Kate Girard who is Director of Clinical Affairs at Viacord and many more.


Share the Science is brought to you in partnership with our friends at Mediware.

Share the Science - Mediware Seminars

Teaching the Next Generation about Cord Blood

Teaching the Next Generation about Cord Blood

A game changer. . . Save the Cord Foundation is kicking off 2016 with a new cord blood education program focused on the Next Generation!

Welcome to Next Generation: Cord Blood!  In 2016, we will be working with teachers and schools across country to educate our next generation of parents about the life-saving qualities of cord blood and how it is preserved.

Over the course of the coming year, we will be working closely with teachers and schools to integrate cord blood education into the classroom rolling out pilot programs for elementary, middle and high school students. This program is a modern supplement developed with science teachers from various schools to enrich the existing science curriculum and with the hope of inspiring students to delve deeper into science, stem cells, and umbilical cord blood.

Doctors are using cord blood every day to treat over 80 different diseases and advances in regenerative medicine using cord blood means that the demand for cord blood is only going to increase. We have a responsibility to share this information and explain the importance of this medical resource as it is currently used and how it may revolutionize science and medicine in the immediate future. These children are tomorrow’s parents, scientists, engineers and physicians. . . the Next Generation.

The Next Generation also plays a key role in educating others through family learning.  Today’s generation of parents knows this to be true as many adults are learning about new technologies and social media from their kids.  “A recent paper published in the Journal of Communication found that between 30%-40% of parents were taught how to use the computer and Internet from their children.” (Source:  Family learning leads to new habits, new choices and, in general, a better quality of life.

Teaching students about the science behind stem cells

Classes of 6th and 8th grade students listening to a presentation by Save the Cord Foundation about the science behind cord blood stem cells.

Bryanne Wadington teaches the science behind cord blood stem cells

Bryanne Wadington explains the science behind cord blood stem cells and why they are important.

At one of the recent Next Generation: Cord Blood events, our team spoke to 6th and 8th graders at the Tanque Verde Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona.  We were welcomed by Ms. Karen Hla and two classes of more than 50 students each.  We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of these students as they learned about the science behind umbilical blood preservation and stem cell transplants.

The discussion was led by Save the Cord Foundation team member, Bryanne Wadington. Ms. Wadington spoke about the basic biology of stem cells: where they are, what they do, and why they are important for growth, health, and everyday life. After covering the basics, she was able to present some of the novel umbilical cord blood research and applications. At that point, the room filled with small hands in the air and gears started buzzing as students asked brilliant questions, related to the material personally, and told us stories about their own families.

Excellent and challenging questions were asked by the students, such as:

  • Can you treat cancer with cord blood?
  • Is umbilical cord blood like regular blood where you need to match recipient and donor?
  • For how long can it be stored?
  • Can it be used for sickle cell anemia?
  • If my family has a history of diabetes or cancer, should we save cord blood?
  • Our Favorite: Why do most people throw it away if it is so useful?

 How many of these questions can you answer? 

We asked Ms. Waddington why she felt this presentation was important for this particular age group and she responded:

These students are at the age I was when I first became interested in biology. I found it fascinating, relatable, and thus easy to absorb. My first biology class influenced me for the remainder of my academic career and led me to the field in which I currently work.  I am thankful for this opportunity to bring this positive, paradigm-shifting material to young minds to help inspire the next generation of problem solvers. It is so fun to stand in front of a group of awestruck kids and say, “I know it sounds like science-fiction, but it’s true.”

At Save the Cord Foundation, we want our youth to understand the basic science behind cord blood.  We want them to be able to make sense of news stories talking about “new medical advancements using cord blood stem cells” and understand how it might affect them.  We want them to be inspired by the cord blood movement so that they push research further themselves through STEM careers.  We want them to speak with family and friends of the older generation explaining how using this valuable medical resource is not something in science-fiction books but is being used today to treat things like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and much more. We want them to be able to make an educated and empowered choice about their own health and the health of their future family.

And you know what? They will.

Educating the Next Generation about Cord Blood

Students at Tanque Verde excited to learn about cord blood and the science behind it.



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Our many thanks to the students and teachers at Tanque Verde School for welcoming Save the Cord Foundation for this in-depth discussion about cord blood stem cells and the related research. 

Support cord blood education. Make a tax-deductible donation today to Save the Cord Foundation.


Are you interested in having Save the Cord Foundation present at your school or work with your teachers on developing a program focused on cord blood education and the science related to this field of medicine? Please contact us for more information.


Educating Medical Professionals on the Cord Blood Collection Process

Educating Medical Professionals on the Cord Blood Collection Process

Educating medical professionals and parents continues to be the key to success of the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program.  A recent educational event focused on the purpose of the public donation program as well as the cord blood collection process.

This past month the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program sent its 31st cord blood unit for transplant. It was a moment celebrated by all of the partner hospitals within this successful Arizona state program for cord blood collection.  However, the team recognizes how much more there is to be done as they strive to encourage more parents to donate their child’s cord blood to this fantastic program. The decision to donate often occurs when expectant parents discuss the options with friends and family, doctors and other medical practitioners. This is why the partners of the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program make education a priority with the various OB/GYN teams involved in this program ensuring consistent and accurate information is given to the expectant parents.

Wendy Barrett_AZ PCB Educ Med Prof 2

Registered Nurse Wendy Barrett speaking to doctors and nurses about cord blood collection processes and the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program.

Save the Cord Foundation recently joined Registered Nurse Wendy Barrett, Program Coordinator of Cord Blood Collection for the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program, at a training session for nurses and physicians from the Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Center for Women’s Health Obstetrics in Phoenix, Arizona. The discussion was focused solely on the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program including the purpose of the program, how and why cord blood is currently being used, how to easily present information to patients, and the recommended practices for collection.  Cord blood can be collected in a majority of births and the collection process is fairly simple for trained medical professionals.  We asked Ms. Barrett to give us the highlights of the collection process so that parents would know what to expect during the delivery of their child:

  • Cord blood collection is done after the birth of the baby but before the delivery of the placenta.
  • Once the baby is born and the cord is clamped and cut. Then the portion of the umbilical cord that is still attached to the placenta is carefully cleaned and prepared for cannulation (see definition of “cannulation”).
  • Once cannulation occurs, gravity is allowed to gently pull the blood into a collection bag designed for this purpose.
  • Collection continues until the cord looks white or until the placenta is delivered, whichever happens first.

It is important to note that neither the mother nor child is harmed in the cord blood collection process.  Cord blood collected and banked via this donation program in Arizona is added to the National Public Cord Blood Bank managed by NMDP / Be The Match.  Once processed, these cord blood units are made available to patients waiting for donors around the US and the world. Cord blood is currently used to treat over 80 different diseases including leukemia, sickle cell and lymphoma.

Once thought of as experimental, cord blood transplants have become more and more common. Since the first cord blood transplant was performed on a patient from North Carolina suffering from Fanconi Anemia over 25 years ago, there have been more than 35,000 umbilical cord blood transplants in the world. The use of cord blood stem cells has revolutionized medicine and continues to provide hope to many patients who would otherwise not have an option for treatment.  This is why we feel so passionate about cord blood preservation and amazing public donation programs like the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program.

At Save the Cord Foundation, we have met many whose lives have been changed thanks to a cord blood transplant. One child who is alive today thanks to a cord blood donation made by a stranger is Dylan Praskins.  Read more about Dylan Praskins and you will agree that making the simple gesture of cord blood donation is a wonderful choice.

Give life twice. Save the cord.

Follow us @SaveTheCord

Cord blood donation partners


Join us April 7th for the 2016 Arizona Cord Blood Conference: 
Lifeline to the Future at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.
Registrations opening soon.

Cord Blood Conference 2016 - Learn about cord blood collection and more

Cord Blood Conference 2016

Don’t live in Arizona? Find out your options for public cord blood donation in your state thanks to our interactive map.

If your local hospital does not participate in a public cord blood donation program, you may wish to contact a hybrid bank that offers a public donation option with nationwide pick-up from any hospital. Keep in mind that you must contact these hybrid banks early in your pregnancy and that slots for participation may be limited depending on each bank. See our complete list of hybrid banks here.

About Save the Cord Foundation

Save the Cord Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was established to promote awareness of the life-saving benefits of cord blood based on unbiased and factual information. The Foundation educates parents, health professionals and the general public about the need to preserve this valuable medical resource while providing information on both public cord blood donation programs and family cord blood banks worldwide.

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