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.
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.
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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