Interview with Diane Paradise: How Cord Blood Stopped Her Hodgkins Lymphoma

Interview with Diane Paradise: How Cord Blood Stopped Her Hodgkins Lymphoma

Save the Cord Foundation recently sat down to speak with Diane Paradise who beat cancer thanks to a cord blood transplant. In this interview, Diane tells us about her long battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma and how close she came to dying. To see her now, you would never know that she had ever been sick.

Diane has a wonderfully infectious personality. When you meet her, you immediately smile. She is positive in every way but it is not until you hear Diane tell her story that you realize how special (and lucky) she is.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.

 

She was 24 when initially diagnosed with Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease. Her life changed in an instant. A small lump under her arm turned into non-stop chemo and hospital visits, cycles of improvement only to be diagnosed again with cancer, treatments which became less and less effective. . .

Throughout the years, Diane explored new treatments, new doctors and challenged the predictions regarding her chances to conquer this horrible disease. She never gave up. She new her best chance was herself.

It was her determination that led her to the specialists at Johns Hopkins. She was invited to participate in a clinical trial and then randomly selected to receive a cord blood transplant. After much research of her own, Diane decided to go forward with her participation in the study. It was a decision that would ultimately save her life.

She received a double cord blood stem cell transplant on December 3rd, 2013. The cords come from donors who she will never meet. She knows one of the cords came from a little girl born on July 21, 2011. Just think. . . she is about to turn 6 and has already saved someone’s life!

In this short interview with Diane, we talk to her about life before and after her cord blood transplant. She reminds of how she is still trying to get used to being “cancer-free” because for years cancer was all she knew. She became one with it. Today, she is proud to say that she has been officially “released from Oncology” and no longer lives in fear.

Read more about Diane here. 

Diane has one message to those who are expecting a baby. . . “Save the Cord!”

 

We wish to thank Diane Paradise

for taking the time to share her story with us at

Save the Cord Foundation. 

 

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

Learn more about our on-going series “# WeCanICan : Beat Cancer with Cord Blood” and register to be a part of our Parents community. We are committed to cord blood education for parents and the medical community worldwide. Show your support by sharing this information with others, especially expectant parents.

Update on Autism Clinical Trials: Interview with Dr. Michael Chez

Update on Autism Clinical Trials: Interview with Dr. Michael Chez

Save the Cord Foundation recently interviewed Dr. Michael Chez (Sutter Health / Sutter Neurological Institute) about the encouraging results coming out of his autism clinical trials using cord blood. In addition, Dr. Chez spoke about the exciting work in this area also being done at Duke University by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg and Geraldine Dawson, PhD.

Autism is a complicated developmental disability that affects as many as 1 in 68 children in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (source: CDC.gov). Imagine how many lives could be changed, if we could find a cure or treatment for autism. Many researchers feel that using a child’s own autologous cord blood could be the key to unlocking this mystery via the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

In this interview, Dr. Chez details the background and results of his clinical trials studying cord blood’s effect on autism. This particular study is significant because it included a placebo which is not always the case in cord blood research. Specifically, this was a double-blind placebo crossover study meaning that ultimately all participants received their cord blood.

Tip for Parents
It is interesting to note that in this particular study and many like it, participants received their own cord blood via private banking. Several private cord blood banks around the world lead (or participate in) on-going research using cord blood. In some cases, parents who store their cord blood privately may be asked by their bank if they would like to participate in a clinical trial (covering a variety of topics). For some parents having this option is important because they anticipate health issues for their baby based on family history or an issue identified during pregnancy. However, not all cord blood banks participate in this type of research. If this is important to you, do your research on the bank you are considering and make sure that they follow the highest standards in terms of storage criteria and processing.

Watch the video now and learn about the latest research using cord blood to potentially treat autism:

Autism and Cord Blood Clinical Trials

Save the Cord Foundation wishes to thank Dr. Michael Chez
for sharing his valuable insight on autism clinical trials using cord blood. 

 

Test your knowledge on cord blood!

 

Cord Blood Experts Discuss Educational Approaches for Parents, Health Professionals & Students

Cord Blood Experts Discuss Educational Approaches for Parents, Health Professionals & Students

cord blood world europe 2017 educational approaches roundtableSave the Cord Foundation recently had the honor of attending Cord Blood World Europe 2017, part of the World Advanced Therapies & Regenerative Medicine Congress and World Precision Medicine Congress, held in London. This was a fantastic opportunity to hear excellent speakers such as Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, Dr. Colleen Delaney, Dr. Paul Veys, Dr. Guy Sauvageau and many others speak about cord blood research and current uses for cord blood in the medical world. In addition, topics went beyond cord blood at times as experts discussed processing and uses for cord tissue as well as other perinatal stem cells. Regenerative medicine was a recurring theme throughout.

A great emphasis was placed on interacting with the expert presenters via lively roundtables and open panel discussions. Save the Cord Foundation was invited to host a roundtable discussion called “Educational Approaches.” We worked with attendees on new educational approaches addressing a variety of audiences, namely health professionals, expectant parents and our next generation of STEM professionals. Several of the participants in this roundtable discussion agreed to share their thoughts with the Save the Cord Foundation community. Below is a quick summary based on some of the most talked about presentations:

One of the most exciting presentations was made by Dr. Colleen Delaney of Nohla Therapeutics and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Delaney presented “Ex-vivo Expanded Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cell Therapies: The Road from a Patient Specific to Universal Donor Approach.” Participants in our roundtable commented that there were several key points made in this presentation that health professionals and parents needed to know about, for example:

After hearing Dr. Delaney’s presentation, I feel parents and health professionals need to realize why cord blood expansion techniques and the concept of the ‘universal donor’ which Dr. Delaney is exploring are so necessary. In particular, compared to patients of Caucasian descent, if a patient of mixed ethnicity is trying to find a match today the odds go down drastically. It is important for parents to know why this cord blood expansion technology led by Dr. Delaney is important and that happily it is perhaps just a few years away from being market ready. That potential is very encouraging.Mara Lucato (Create Cord Blood Bank Canada - www.createcordbank.com)

Another interesting presentation was made by Chiranya (Anjie) Prachaseri of Cryoviva in South East Asia, called “Perinatal Stem Cell Banking- Uses and Future Opportunities – A South East Asian Perspective.” This presentation emphasized the on-going problem with press and media coverage of cord blood which can often mislead parents and doctors. Prachaseri also discussed the fact that many parents do not know about the various accreditation groups who play a very important role in the industry.

Although the presentation focused mainly on South East Asia, Dr. Mareike Uhlmann from Stemlab, who participated in our roundtable, agreed it is crucial. . .

to ensure that the bank you want to use for storage is properly accredited and certified to guarantee that the parent’s hopes won’t be shattered in case a treatment is needed.Dr. Mareike Uhlmann (Stemlab - www.stemlab.ch)

Andre Gomes, also from Stemlab, stated how important it is to address the misinformation that is being given to our youth – the next generation of scientists, doctors, policy makers, etc. He applauded Prachaseri’s efforts of speaking to university students about cord blood and stem cell applications.

This has to be explained. More information must be given to young people otherwise we will always be fighting misinformation and confusing press. We need to move from the idea that ‘stem cells are bad’ to a discussion about the good and bad reasons for stem cell storage.Andre Gomes (Stemlab - www.stemlab.ch)

Finally, another presentation that prompted interesting discussion was made by Joana Correia of Exogenus Therapeutics. Correia presented “Umbilical Cord Blood Supply for the Development of Exo-Wound, an Exosome-based Product for Chronic Wounds.” Based on this presentation, roundtable participants saw opportunity for future STEM professionals who want to explore cellular expansion, delivery mechanisms, exosome extraction or even the shifts between translational and clinical applications. While these opportunities cannot be denied, several roundtable participants expressed caution reminding the group that cord blood stem cells are truly precious and should be used wisely.

Our collective responsibility, as scientists and educators, is to ensure that parents understand the true value of their newborn’s stem cells.Dr. Ayub Lulat (Create Cord Blood Bank Canada - www.createcordbank.com )
Challenges in cord blood education

Experts discuss challenges in cord blood education

We, at Save the Cord Foundation, could not agree more. Cord blood is rich in stem cells. If collected and stored properly, these stem cells could be currently used to treat more than 80 different life-threatening diseases including many blood cancers. Compared to bone marrow, it is much easier to match and carries less risk of Graft versus Host Disease. Impressive research is also underway around the globe to test cord blood’s potential in regenerative medicine. For example, there is ground-breaking research to potentially treat spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, hearing loss and diabetes all using cord blood.

This is why we tell every parent. . . do everything you can to save your baby’s cord blood. If you can donate it, then donate it. If you prefer to privately store it (for eventual use by your child or family member), then do it. Be proactive and plan ahead. Please don’t throw this valuable medical resource away. Save the cord.

Meet another cord blood expert: Dr. Curtis Cetrulo, Sr.

Learn about the current uses of cord blood and perinatal stem cells. . . click here.

 

 

World Cord Blood Day 2017: Official Launch (press release)

World Cord Blood Day 2017: Official Launch (press release)

Inaugural event, World Cord Blood Day 2017, highlights non-controversial source of stem cells

World Cord Blood Day (November 15th) provides an opportunity for parents and health professionals to learn about current cord blood applications and ground-breaking research

Tucson, Arizona – March 27th, 2017: Expectant parents and health professionals across the globe are invited to participate in the first ever World Cord Blood Day to be held on November 15th, 2017.

More than 35,000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide since 1988 to treat over 80 life-threatening diseases including sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, lymphoma and leukemia. In the emerging field of regenerative medicine, cord blood holds great promise in treating autism, diabetes, hearing loss, stroke, brain injury and more. Yet, cord blood is still thrown away as medical waste in the majority of births worldwide. The purpose of World Cord Blood Day is to educate expectant parents and health professionals about the current applications for this non-controversial source of stem cells and to highlight the exciting research happening in this field of medicine.

“We are excited about this opportunity to expand cord blood education worldwide while providing a platform for discussion focused exclusively on this valuable medical resource,” said Charis Ober, Executive Director of Save the Cord Foundation.

Organized by Save the Cord Foundation, World Cord Blood Day is officially sponsored by Quick Specialized Healthcare Logistics (www.quickhealthcare.aero), a recognized leader in medical shipping and logistics. Inspiring Partners for this inaugural event include the Cord Blood Association, Be the Match (NMDP), World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA – Netcord), AABB and FACT. As Inspiring Partners, these organizations will provide industry-specific and medical expertise.

“As the most experienced global transportation provider of cord blood for processing and transplant, we are proud to be a sponsor of World Cord Blood Day and are dedicated to supporting the life science community by providing innovative logistics solutions that help save and improve lives. Our 36 years of life science experience makes the difference when it comes to product security, integrity and chain of custody during the transportation process,” said Dave Murphy, Executive VP of Quick’s Life Science Division.

In addition to free events to be held around the globe, World Cord Blood Day will host a free virtual conference (free, open to the public and health professionals) on November 15th. The program will include introductory presentations appropriate for the public as well as academic lectures specifically designed for health professionals, led by renowned researchers and transplant doctors. In parallel, social media (#WCBD17) will be used to build cord blood awareness and encourage participation in the day’s events.

Visit www.WorldCordBloodDay.org to learn how you can participate or host an event.

 

About Save the Cord Foundation
A 501c3 non-profit, Save the Cord Foundation’s vision is to make saving umbilical cord blood the standard of care in birthing hospitals across the U.S. and around the globe. Save the Cord Foundation provides non-biased information to expectant parents and the public about the options for saving umbilical cord blood by public donation, private banking and donation to research. A nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, Save the Cord Foundation was established to create and expand cord blood education and create awareness for the need to preserve and share this valuable, lifesaving medical resource.

For more information on Save the Cord Foundation, please visit www.SaveTheCordFoundation.org.

About Quick Specialized Healthcare Logistics
Quick is the trusted logistics leader serving the Healthcare and Life Science community for over 36 years. Quick safely transports human organs and tissue for transplant or research, blood, blood products, cord blood, bone marrow, medical devices and personalized medicine, 24/7/365.  Quick’s specially trained experts work with hospitals, laboratories, blood banks and medical processing centers, and utilize the safest routes to ensure integrity, temperature control and chain of custody throughout the transportation process.

For more information about Quick Specialized Healthcare Logistics, please visit www.quickhealthcare.aero.

Tucson Roadrunners AHL Hockey Hosts “Cord Blood Awareness Night”

Tucson Roadrunners AHL Hockey Hosts “Cord Blood Awareness Night”

Giving back to the community, our local hockey team, the Tucson Roadrunners (an AHL affiliate), will be welcoming Save the Cord Foundation on Friday, March 31st for “Cord Blood Awareness Night.”

The Tucson Roadrunners know how to support those who support them!  They have witnessed our work over the years within the local Tucson community and throughout the state of Arizona. Understanding the importance of our mission to expand cord blood education, the Tucson Roadrunners have extended a special invitation to Save the Cord Foundation to host “Cord Blood Awareness Night.” It is an opportunity to build awareness about cord blood with Roadrunner fans of all generations and fundraise for our annual budget.

The Save the Cord Foundation team, including many of our interns from University of Arizona, will be speaking with Roadrunner fans about how cord blood stem cells are currently being used to treat over 80 different diseases including lymphoma, leukemia and sickle cell. They also learn about the many encouraging clinical studies using cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine to potentially treat spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, autism, diabetes, hearing loss, etc. Advice on how to donate cord blood to the Arizona Public Cord Blood program will also be provided. Information will be available in both English and Spanish.

Have some fun and give to a good cause at the same time!!!

Join us for “Cord Blood Awareness Night”
March 31st, 2017 – 7pm until. . .

ADVANCE PURCHASE DISCOUNTED TICKETS: $20
(only available from Save the Cord Foundation)

Tucson Roadrunners vs. San Diego Gulls

. . .and it’s $2 Beer Night!!!

HOW TO BUY TICKETS:  It is easy to join us for this special event! Tickets are only $20 per person (normally $30-40 per person)!  Get a spot for you and your friends!  Simply fill out our contact form (or send an email to info@savethecordfoundation.org) with your name, phone number and number of tickets you wish to buy.  We will have a team member contact you to confirm the purchase and arrange delivery (cash on delivery, local Tucson delivery only).

 

 

 

Cord Blood World Europe 2017: Educational Approaches

Cord Blood World Europe 2017: Educational Approaches

The Cord Blood World Europe conference in London is just around the corner and Save the Cord Foundation is pleased to announce that we will be participating again this year. Our team will be leading a unique roundtable/workshop called “Educational Approaches” building on themes of collaboration presented by key speakers at this event.

The Cord Blood World Europe conference has evolved over the years into a dynamic platform for collaboration and discussion amongst the cord blood industry’s leading experts. Each year the event welcomes numerous researchers and visionaries from all over the world who have one thing in common. . . cord blood.  Born out of demand from feedback over the years Cord Blood World Europe aims to bring together public and private banks, clinicians, researchers, regulatory bodies and solution providers to tackle the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. The conference focuses on the continued need to increase the number of parents who privately store or donate cord blood, reduce costs, increase utilisation, advance regenerative applications and improve quality.

Cord Blood World Europe 2017
17-18 May 2017
Business Design Center, London
Register Now

In 2017, there will be a special emphasis placed on new collaborations developing in this maturing industry. The conference will serve as a springboard for discussions both publicly and privately on how to move forward globally with research and current cellular therapies using cord blood. In addition to lectures from renowned cord blood pioneers such as Dr. Colleen Delaney of NoHLA Therapeutics/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg of Duke University, a series of panel discussions with cord blood experts from both the public and private arenas will allow participants to dig deeper into various topics and seek real world answers to challenges they face as a cord blood bank, a researcher, an oncologist, a charity, etc.

Just to name a few of the presentations/discussions we are looking forward to. . .

  • Keynote presentations from Dr. Colleen Delaney from NoHLA/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Professor Vanderson Rocha of Eurocord
  • Research focused presentations from Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg of Duke University and Dr. Jaap Boelens of UMC Utrecht
  • Panel discussion on “The Advantages of Banking Other Tissue, and the Effect This Will Have on the Cord Blood Industry”
  • Panel discussion on “Cord Blood Expansion: How Close Are We to a Solution for this Bottleneck?”
  • Break out session on “Patient Advocacy” highlighting differences in US and UK mandates
Exclusive Roundtable/Workshop: EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES
Building on themes of collaboration, Save the Cord Foundation will lead a special roundtable/workshop called “Educational Approaches.” This roundtable/workshop will focus on the art of communication and education within the industry. Our team will work with participants in small group sessions to develop educational messages for various audiences. All participants will be given the option to feature their educational messages on our website at Save the Cord Foundation along with a backlink to their website where their teams will be encouraged to build on this message. The goal is to start a series of conversations across the globe, targeting a variety of audiences and building on what is presented at Cord Blood World Europe 2017. PLACES ARE LIMITED.

Please note, places are very limited for the “Educational Approaches” roundtable/workshop with Save the Cord Foundation. Please reserve your spot for the conference and the roundtable via the Terrapin website: http://www.terrapinn.com/conference/cord-blood-world-europe/index.stm

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Intel ISEF 2017: STEM Students from 75 Countries to Learn about Cord Blood from STCF & StemCyte

Intel ISEF 2017: STEM Students from 75 Countries to Learn about Cord Blood from STCF & StemCyte

Recognized as the world’s largest international pre-collegiate science competition, Intel ISEF is sometimes referred to as the “Olympics of Science Fairs” welcoming the brightest STEM students from more than 75 different countries.  This year Save the Cord Foundation is proud to announce that we will be there!! Together with our friends at StemCyte, Inc., we will be bringing cord blood education to the Next Generation of scientists, doctors, nurses and community leaders via this prestigious event.

Each year, millions of students compete worldwide in local and school-sponsored science fairs for an opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for approximately $4 million in prizes at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF 2017), a program of Society for Science & the Public. Visit the official site here.

Nearly 5000 students, their teachers and mentors from more than 75 different countries attend this event annually. The research presented by students is of the highest calibre.  For example, last year’s Gordon E. Moore Award winner was Han Jie (Austin) Wang, an 18-year-old from Canada who broke new ground with his research: Boosting MFC Biocatalyst Performance: A Novel Gene Identification and Consortia Engineering Approach.

 

Intel ISEF 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center:  May 14-19th, 2017
Schools and the general public are welcome on “Intel ISEF Public Day” on May 18th, 2017

Learn more. Register to attend Intel ISEF 2017.

Despite decades of use in the treatment of 80+ diseases in more than 35,000 transplants worldwide, the topic of sourcing stem cells from cord blood has never been formally presented at Intel ISEF. Thus, Intel ISEF 2017 presents a unique opportunity for our team to break new ground by introducing this topic tomorrow’s leading scientists, doctors and community leaders.  Together, StemCyte, Inc. and Save the Cord Foundation will form a dynamic team whose goal will be to increase cord blood awareness and spark an interest in cord blood research by these outstanding STEM students.

STEM students prepare for Intel ISEF

Preparing for the arrival of 1700 finalists at Intel ISEF

During the course of this multi-day event, our team will be welcoming students, their teachers and representatives from countries around the world to engage in a variety of interactive demonstrations regarding the collection of cord blood, the preservation process, testing and eventual use of these valuable, non-controversial stem cells. In addition, the team will be hosting a symposium dedicated to cord blood featuring one of the world’s outstanding neuroscientist, Dr. Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D.. Dr. Young is the Global Medical Director for StemCyte, Inc., Distinguished Professor, founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience.

Wise Young Intel ISEF - StemcyteDuring the symposium, Dr. Young will speak about cord blood’s critical role in regenerative medicine and potential treatments using cord blood for spinal cord injuries.  An engaging speaker and pioneer in the field, Dr. Young will speak to students about ground-breaking clinical trials he is leading across China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and as well as those more recently the United States, Norway and India. Dr. Young will also discuss the growing need for cord blood globally with regards to current applications and potential developments in the medical world that could stimulate a sudden increase in demand.

Students who attend Intel ISEF will be encouraged to participate in the NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood program and to share this program with others in their communities when they return home. Students will have the opportunity to register for a free NEXT GENERATION account and newsletter focused exclusively on cord blood.

A word about our partner for this special event. . .

StemCyte, Inc. is a hybrid cord blood bank (providing both public and private cord blood banking) with locations in the US, India and Taiwan.  As one of the largest and most racially diverse cord blood stem cell banks in the world, StemCyte is actively involved in the development of new umbilical cord blood-based cell therapies. The Company supports the largest clinical study for using unrelated cord blood transplantation for thalassemia, one of the most common genetic diseases in the world, and the developments of trials investigating regenerative spinal cord therapies. To learn more visit StemCyte’s official site.

We wish to thank StemCyte,Inc. for their generous support.

 

 

Photo credits:
Top photo: Nathan Han, of Boston, Massachusetts, who won the Intel ISEF 2014 Gordon E. Moore Award, celebrated with the finalists from Massachusetts (Chris Ayers Photography/Society for Science & the Public)
Middle photo: Preparations behind-the-scenes for Intel ISEF (April Rietze Photography/Society for Science & the Public)
Bottom photo: Dr. Wise Young (Rutgers University/W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience)

Mother of Four Won the Battle Against Breast Cancer and Leukemia: Deb Martell, Part 4 #WeCanICan series

Mother of Four Won the Battle Against Breast Cancer and Leukemia: Deb Martell, Part 4 #WeCanICan series

Mother of four, Deb Martell fought breast cancer and won only to discover nine years later that she had developed leukemia (AML). Cord blood saved her life.

Part 4 in our #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series, in association with World Cancer Day

Life is so simple. You are born. You go to school. You meet someone nice, get married, have a few kids. . . and boom! Cancer.

Cancer does not discriminate. It can pick on anyone and at any time. Originally from Wisconsin, Deb Martell moved to Denver in 1997 with her family. She was 36 years old at the time and a proud mother of four adorable children aged (4, 6, 9 & 11). Life was moving along nicely and very busy due to the move. So, you can imagine how shocked Deb was when she learned she had breast cancer just two months after the move.

Deb’s doctors moved quickly to put her on a hard course of chemotherapy. They also performed an autologous transplant (using her own stem cells), considered a radical treatment in the late 90’s. The treatment saved her life but also damaged her body severely. In particular, the harsh chemo treatment would prove to have a potentially fatal long-term side effect. Everyone knew there was a risk of this but Deb knew she was facing a life or death choice. She followed her doctor’s advice and won a second chance at life. She won the battle against breast cancer!

Fast forward nine years. . . Deb was enjoying her new life and so grateful to have beaten breast cancer. She and her family had moved again. Now, they were living in Wisconsin. The kids were growing up fast. Her oldest was now 20. The youngest was 13. All were keeping her busy with school runs, getting everyone to afterschool activities like hockey and soccer and volunteering at the church.

This was 2007 and Deb had just returned from dropping her second son off at college. She knew something was wrong. She felt incredibly weak. She made an appointment with her doctor. They drew some blood and realized that she needed two units immediately. A bone marrow biopsy was ordered for the next day. Deb was told that she had been diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia). It was serious.

As the testing progressed, her doctor realized that she also had a “Chromosome 7 Abnormality” which most likely developed following the heavy chemotherapy she received back in 1998. The intense chemo treatment had saved her life but forever altered her body.  The fact remained that now she had leukemia and required immediate treatment. The doctor advised her to check into the hospital that same day so that she could start a week of chemo in preparation for a stem cell transplant. They would start looking for a bone marrow donor immediately.

WeCanICan - World Cancer Day - Beat Cancer With Cord Blood - Deb Martell

Deb Martell: Two-time Cancer Survivor – #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood

Deb immediately thought of her kids, “What? . . . but I can’t. Not today. I have to pick up my kids, make arrangements, I can’t just drop everything and start chemo.” Yes, the realities of motherhood often do not line up with the realities of the medical world. Deb did her best.

She quickly organized the necessary logistics for her children and made calls out to everyone to see if they could be a possible bone marrow donor. Everyone stepped into action. A network of family and friends was set up on Caring Bridge. Deb started chemo that weekend.

Deb’s doctors St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee had hoped that her brother would be a possible match for a bone marrow stem cell transplant. However, the criteria for a bone marrow transplant are strict and sadly he was not a match. Was there another option? Deb was desperate.

A hero emerged. . . Dr. Robert Taylor at St. Luke’s recommended she speak with a colleague of his who was doing exciting work using cord blood to fight cancer. This one conversation would save her life. Deb is grateful to this day that Dr. Taylor truly explored all options. He thought out of the box and put her in touch with Dr. Claudio Brunstein at the University of Minnesota – Fairview Hospital.

Deb met with Dr. Brunstein and the decision was made that a cord blood stem cell transplant would be her best hope for survival. The matching process would be easier than for bone marrow and hopefully they would only need one cord since she was considered a relatively small adult in terms of weight and height. The search began.

Deb proceeded with the chemo treatment and began to prepare her body for the transplant. She started to have numerous adverse reactions and issues with platelet transfusions because of the many antibodies in her system. The Blood Center of Wisconsin did an amazing job of finding the specific HLA matched platelets she needed.

Good news . . . Dr. Brunstein had found a cord blood donation that matched! Not only did it meet the basic criteria for matching, it exceeded it. The cord could have come from anywhere in the world but in Deb’s case it was found in the US which made logistics much easier. That donation turned out to be a 6 to 6 antigen match! Dr. Brunstein and his team also said that it was the largest cord blood collection they had ever seen. That meant that they would not need a second one. One would be enough!

Deb received her cord blood transplant on December 18th, 2007. She ended up staying in the hospital for a total of 36 days and then a local apartment for 3 months during which time she was separated from her family as they continued with school and work. However, her recovery progressed nicely. She did not suffer any problems with Graft versus Host Disease (another benefit of using cord blood instead of bone marrow). Her blood type changed from A+ to O+ and she developed an allergy to cashews. Overall, she made a quick recovery and her doctors were very impressed saying that she was an “exceptional cancer patient.”

Cancer survivor, mother of four, attends family wedding

Post cord blood transplant, Deb Martell attends a family wedding.

This past December, Deb celebrated her 9th birthday. Yes, it has been 9 years and she is cancer free! As you can imagine, Deb takes nothing for granted in life. She wakes up every morning and follows a routine filled with gratitude and healthy choices. “I thank God every morning for my very breath and the blessing it is to live another day. My day starts with prayer and thanksgiving and coffee with coconut oil and raw honey! Followed by my workout (usually),” she says.

Indeed, the experience has taught her and her family to be grateful for so much. Her fight against cancer has also influenced her kids in choices they have made. . . one becoming a lawyer, another a nurse. All of them are intent on making the world a better place. Deb and her family say now that they “don’t look at problems that other people see and give up. We try to learn from those problems.”

Thanks to cord blood, Deb was given another chance at life. Thanks to this valuable medical resource, she has been able to attend graduations, watch her kids blossom, enjoy the outdoors (love this photo of her kayaking!), work part-time . . . she is living and loving life!!

What is Deb’s advice to other cancer patients?

  • Be grateful. Take nothing for granted!
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle post-treatment. Deb keeps a non-toxic home as much as possible. Her goal every day is to protect and build her immune system. She eats gluten-free, corn-free, non-processed foods, . . . She stays health through choices that she makes daily.
  • One of her favorite rituals which she highly recommends is making a morning smoothie. Deb shared her recipe with us. Looks yummy!
Deb's Smoothie Recipe

1 cup organic spinach

1/2 an avocado

1 heaping T of coconut kefir spread (I get this locally so I’m not sure it’s available everywhere, but use something that has probiotics and live cultures.)

heaping T of LIVfit Superfood Blend or your choice of protein powder

1 small fairly unripe banana

1 cup organic frozen mixed berries

2 tp of cacao powder

8 oz of coconut water or filtered water

1 T of raw honey if you need more sweet

Blend and enjoy!

 

world cancer dayCord blood is an incredible medical resource. Since 1988, there have been more than 35,000 cord blood transplants worldwide.  Far from science-fiction, cord blood is currently used to treat over 80 diseases including sickle cell anemia, lymphoma and leukemia. Cord blood is also proving key for exciting research in regenerative medicine to potentially treating things like autism, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, diabetes. . .

Learn more about how cord blood is used to fight cancer by meeting others whose lives have been saved thanks to cord blood.  Discover the full #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series (in World Cancer Day).

#WeCanICan : Beat Cancer with Cord Blood – World Cancer Day

#WeCanICan : Beat Cancer with Cord Blood – World Cancer Day

Don’t sit back! Get up and spread the good news! #WeCanICan beat cancer with cord blood!  It is already happening and we are going to celebrate cord blood’s success on World Cancer Day 2017.

Join us to spread the word to parents and medical professionals about this valuable medical resource. Let’s encourage more parents to save the cord. Let’s encourage more hospitals to launch public cord blood donation programs.
Save the Cord Foundation_World Cancer Day

Save the Cord Foundation is a proud participant in World Cancer Day 2017 (visit the WCD site). Of course, cancer awareness and cord blood education go year round but this February 4th everyone is making a special effort to get the word out! Why is this important?  First of all, though doctors have not yet “cured” cancer it is fair to say that huge progress has been made. Part of that progress is largely due to cord blood!

At Save the Cord Foundation, World Cancer Day 2017 will kick off a series of articles and interviews with cancer survivors, the doctors who treat them and, of course, parents who have donated their child’s cord blood. Join us as we reach out to members of the medical community and parents to explain how cord blood is being used to treat 80+ diseases including many blood cancers.

Discover our #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series:

Part 1:  Nathan Mumford: Living Proof We Can Beat Cancer with Cord Blood

Part 2:  Diane Paradise: Game Over Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Part 3:  George Cannette: Stronger Than a Hurricane!

Part 4:  Deb Martell: Mother of Four, Won the Battle Against Breast Cancer and Leukemia

 

 


FACT:  Cord blood is often used to treat things like lymphoma, leukemia and sickle cell anemia.

We support public cord blood donation programs worldwide like Be The Match, State led programs like the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program (US), Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank (US)Jeevan Cord Blood Bank (India), Anthony Nolan (UK), Canadian Blood Services (Canada) . . . the list goes on. But, the key to these programs is having doctors and nurses on board in each hospital.

FACT:  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 suffering from Fanconi Anemia over 25 years ago there have been more than 35,000 umbilical cord blood transplants in the world. 

There is also an urgency to increase cord blood donations from minority and mixed race families, just like with bone marrow donations.

Current practice in most hospitals is to just throw cord blood away as medical waste when a baby is born.  However, cord blood holds tons of valuable non-controversial stem cells.

FACT:  Collecting cord blood does not hurt the mother or child and can be collected safely in the majority of births.

Our mission is remind doctors, nurses, midwives and parents of these facts. And to remind them that there are people waiting for a donor to treat their cancer. Together, #WeCanICan beat cancer with cord blood. Every action is important on #WorldCancerDay!

Give life twice.  #Savethecord.


 

In addition the materials provided by Save the Cord Foundation, we invite you to discover these tools and facts sheets on cancer awareness, prevention and treatment (source: World Cancer Day & the Union for International Cancer Control) :

ScreenHunter_49 Jan. 29 12.47World Cancer Day: Build a Quality Cancer Workforce (download) 

 

 

 

ScreenHunter_50 Jan. 29 12.50World Cancer Day: Mobilise Networks (download) 

 

 

 

ScreenHunter_51 Jan. 29 12.52

World Cancer Day: Shape Policy Change (download)

 

 

 

ScreenHunter_52 Jan. 29 12.53World Cancer Day: Take Control of My Cancer Journery (download)

 

 

VIDEO: Dr. Wise Young, Spinal Cord Injury & Potential Treatments Using Cord Blood

VIDEO: Dr. Wise Young, Spinal Cord Injury & Potential Treatments Using Cord Blood

Together with our sponsor, Mediware Inc., we had the honor of hosting Dr. Wise Young for an exclusive “Share the Science” live presentation during the AABB 2016 annual conference.

Dr. Wise Young’s accolades are many yet what makes him a leading researcher in the cord blood industry is his commitment to bringing treatments to people with spinal cord Injuries.

During the live #ShareTheScience presentation, Dr. Young spoke in great detail about his current research and goals for the future. His presentation led the group to discussing a variety of issues including the fact that cord blood supplies could very quickly be depleted as major medical advances are made using cord blood. Indeed, there is precedent for this if we consider that just a few decades ago cord blood was not used at all and now it is used to treat over 80 different diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell and thalassemia.

Many health professionals agree that cord blood holds many distinct advantages.  Learn the facts on cord blood here.

In this short video interview, we asked Dr. Young to speak about briefly about his own groundbreaking research using cord blood to treat spinal cord injury and progress that is being made in the field. He also expanded on the group’s discussion about cord blood supplies, public banking and health care costs for these new therapies. He placed a particular focus on India and third world countries where most families cannot afford treatments or private cord blood banking.  Regarding India, he spoke extensively about the opportunity and challenge which lies before us to make cord blood therapies and storage more accessible in order to fight thalassemia (read a related guest post on India from Jeevan Blood Bank).

The overriding message. . . medicine is advancing fast!  The world needs more cord blood.

 

This interview is meant as a general introduction to Dr. Young’s research and does not go into the same technical depth that his live presentation did. Unfortunately, a recording of the live presentation is not available.

About Dr. Young

Dr. Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience is recognized as one of the world’s outstanding neuroscientists.

Dr. Wise Young built and trained a 25 center clinical trial network in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, where human clinical trials using umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells and lithium are underway. In the initial results from the phase II trial in Kunming, China, 75% of the participants (15 out of 20) recovered walking with a rolling walker. He is establishing clinical trial networks in the United States, Norway, and India. Phase IIB trials started in 2015, and phase III trials are getting underway this year.

 

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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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