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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Success! April 13th, 2017 – Arizona Cord Blood Conference

Success! April 13th, 2017 – Arizona Cord Blood Conference

UPDATE: This event was held April 13th, 2017. Not only was the conference sold-out, but many of the speakers have offered to return for future events. There were numerous doctors and nurses in attendance (CME credits were awarded for certain lectures). Many parents were also in the audience.  However, many of the most interesting questions came from local students who truly impressed everyone with their knowledge of cord blood stem cells.

Exciting things are happening in Arizona!  Get ready for the 2nd Annual Arizona Cord Blood Conference to be held on April 13th, 2017.  We are looking forward to hearing from a wide range of speakers who work in the industry and are leading cutting edge research in cellular therapies using cord blood.

For students interested in possible STEM careers, this conference will provide a unique opportunity to learn directly from those in the cord blood industry and discover new opportunities that are emerging thanks to exciting research and current uses for cord blood stem cells.

For health professionals, you will have the opportunity to meet with leading scientists in this field and understand how your practice could immediately have impact or benefit from cord blood collections. As a medical practitioner, you can also earn up to 6 hours CME credits at this free conference.

For hospital administrators and policy makers, this conference will be key to better understanding the current status of the cord blood industry and how we can work together to improve it.

CME credits - Arizona Cord Blood Conference 2017

Earn CME credits – Register Now

Meet cord blood recipients like Nathan Mumford, Dylan Praskins and Noah Swanson. . .

Meet Nathan and numerous cord blood experts at the. . .

ARIZONA Cord Blood Conference
Thursday, April 13th, 2017
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM MST

Desert Willow Conference Center
4340 East Cotton Center Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85040

PRE-REGISTER now for the 2017 Arizona Cord Blood Conference: April 13th, 2017 (more details to follow)


Exact program details will be announced shortly. Please check this page for updates.

 *   *   *   *   *

This event is sponsored by the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission in partnership with the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program and Save the Cord Foundation.


Stronger than a Hurricane: George Cannette, Cancer Survivor (Part 3 in the #WeCanICan Series)

Stronger than a Hurricane: George Cannette, Cancer Survivor (Part 3 in the #WeCanICan Series)

Suddenly struck with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) as an adult, George Cannette and his doctors could not find a bone marrow match for him. Doctors decided cord blood would be the best option.

Welcome to Biloxi, Mississippi. The year is 2005 and the area has just been hit by a natural disaster that would make the history books in many ways. It’s late August and Hurricane Katrina just destroyed the lives of thousands. Over 1400 were killed in the flooding. Later, the death toll rose even higher as communities began to make sense of the chaos and struggled to put life back together. It was during this time that George Cannette started having symptoms.

Cancer Survivor George Cannette

George felt bad, really bad.
He thought at first it was the flu or something minor. Then, the symptoms got a bit worse and pretty soon George realized that he needed to see a doctor. But, that was easier said than done in the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina. George downplayed things in his mind and waited for his local doctor’s office to open again (closed for weeks due to the storm).

On September 19th, 2005, George finally got to see the doctor.
By this point, he was at an all-time low and his doctor immediately sent him to the hospital for tests. On September 20th, George got the news. He was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).

Quickly George’s doctors reacted. He was immediately put on chemotherapy as the chaos of Hurricane Katrina continued around him. But, George was hopeful and ultimately it seemed that the cancer went into remission for several months. This was false hope as the new year would bring a new round of the disease and other complications.

In early 2006, doctors concluded that the chemotherapy was not working as they had hoped for George. Indeed, the cancer was still there.

Doctors told George he would need a bone marrow transplant. The search began. After several months and no donor match, he was referred to the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas where he met with Dr. Partow Kebriaei. Dr. Kebriaei and her team initially tried to find a bone marrow transplant for George but time was running out. No matches could be found.

What is Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)?

• Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets.

• Leukemia may affect red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

• There are different subtypes of AML.

• Smoking, previous chemotherapy treatment, and exposure to radiation may affect the risk of adult AML.

• Signs and symptoms of adult AML include fever, feeling tired, and easy bruising or bleeding.

• Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect (find) and diagnose adult AML.

• Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

(Source: National Cancer Institute at, accessed 31 March 2016.)

George remembers the day that he was told there was no match for him.
He found out by accident from one of the nurses while he was waiting for the doctor. His mind immediately started to spin as started to pick up his cell phone to call his family. That was it, he thought. No other options. Just then, Dr. Kebriaei came in.

She reviewed the details of George’s situation. George listened and preparing to mentally for the worse. He started to thank her for her time. . .thinking there was nothing more she could do. Quickly, Dr. Kebriaei interjected with words that George will never forget, “George, that’s not how we do things here.” George listened.

Chemo treatment 2005 George Cannette Leukemia

Hope. Hope was what Dr. Kebriaei offered.
She began to explain in great detail that she would like to recommend George for a clinical trial at MD Anderson using cord blood to treat leukemia. A baby’s cord blood? George had never heard of this type of treatment but he was willing to trust her advice.

Dr. Kebriaei gave George as much detail as she could but also explained that in George’s case the procedure carried a very high risk. Because George had gone through so much chemotherapy, his body was weak and his immune system was in terrible shape.

She estimated that George had a 40% chance of surviving the cord blood transplant. In his case, a double cord blood transplant would be necessary and he would need to stay in isolation for 30 days after the transplant procedure. Ultimately, she predicted, in his case, that the long term survival rate would be 2 years.

George did not hesitate. He said yes. Instead of picking up the phone to call his family with tragic news, he now picked up the phone to explain that he wanted to take a risk on this new procedure. With his family’s full support, he was putting his faith in new medicine (at the time).

But. . . what about insurance for a cord blood transplant?

Once agreed, George and his doctors were anxious to move forward with the cord blood transplant. But, remember this was 2006 and this was a clinical trial in which George was participating. He now had to get the insurance company to support this decision. It was not easy. Initially, he was told no.

IMPORTANT:  Luckily today, many insurance policies do cover cord blood transplants just as they would for a bone marrow transplant. The FDA has approved the use of cord blood stem cells for over 80 different diseases including many blood cancers. If you are being advised by your doctors that a cord blood transplant could be a possible form of treatment for you or a member of your family, please speak with your insurance provider before proceeding.

George would not accept no. He pushed forward with the bureaucracy of getting proper insurance coverage for the procedure. Finally, just before Christmas in 2006, he got a call from his contact at the insurance company. Success! He could schedule the transplant.

George immediately made arrangements with Dr. Kebriaei. The New Year would be the start of a new life!

His double cord blood transplant was scheduled for March 14th, 2007.

“The cord blood transplant was issued to me just like a blood transfusion. . . with no real side effects. . . Some patients did indeed suffer from graft versus host disease which can be extremely painful and stressful. I was blessed beyond belief in my whole situation,” recalls George.

Patients who receive a cord blood transplant do not experience Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD). True or False?

Definition of Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD): A disease caused when cells from a donated stem cell graft attack the normal tissue of the transplant patient. Symptoms include jaundice, skin rash or blisters, a dry mouth, or dry eyes. Also called graft-versus-host disease. (Source: National Cancer Institute, )

False, but cases of GvHD after a cord blood transplant are much less frequent and usually easier to treat than after a bone marrow transplant. In George’s case, he did not experience any GvHD.

Thirty days of isolation post-transplant went by and George’s immune system began to rebuild itself.
Everyone, including George, was amazed by his recovery. He left the hospital with a strict list of instructions to follow post-transplant. George emphasizes that patients “need to follow this last advice from their doctors to the letter. I believe in it. . . just too important not to do it.”

For the next 6-months, the team at MD Anderson asked that George remain nearby so that they could follow his progress post-transplant. This is sometimes the case with clinical trials. George was lucky. His father-in-law was able to stay with him in Texas for the duration of this process. His wife and kids came to visit as often as they could. But, it goes without saying, George has been eternally grateful to his family for their support and considers himself to be exceptionally fortunate to have such a loving family.

Finally, George returned home. Post-transplant, post-hurricane . . . he started to put his life together again and pretty soon his battle with leukemia became a thing of the past. He began working again. A die-hard sports fan, he currently works for the Biloxi Shuckers, a Double-A Minor League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, where he handles the instant replays of the games for the video production team.

Biloxi Shuckers George Cannette

George on the job at Biloxi Shuckers, affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 2012, five years following his cord blood transplant, George was finally declared “cancer free.”

His advice to doctors and expectant parents regarding cord blood preservation comes as no surprise,

“It is hard for me to believe some doctors are skeptical about cord blood. I understand with parents because not many people follow research and advances in these medical fields. I know I didn’t. But, you cannot be afraid of new technologies in medicine today. If the doctor believes this type of treatment is what they need then they should believe in that doctor and have a very open mind about it.”


biloxi shuckers baseball team MLB affiliate milwaukee brewers His advice to those suffering from cancer is equally sincere,

“My advice for someone currently diagnosed is to seek out the most experienced cancer doctor that specializes in the field of the exact cancer they are diagnosed with. Do not be afraid to ask questions no matter what the answer might be. By all means, do exactly what your doctor tells you to do.”


We could not agree more, George. We must be willing to ask questions and we must be willing to listen. Both patients and doctors must be willing to take calculated risks when necessary.

But, most importantly, parents must be willing to save their child’s cord blood at birth. If not, the opportunity is lost! Literally, a life-saving medical resource is thrown in the trash. Just imagine if the families who donated the cords of their babies in George’s case had not done so. His story would have ended years ago.

George’s story is remarkable. He was given a rare opportunity to participate in clinical trial using cord blood. His participation in this trial not only helped himself but provided hope for countless others.

Today, a cord blood transplant for leukemia is no longer considered experimental and, in fact, recent studies show it is more effective than bone marrow in treating leukemia. Approved by the FDA, cord blood is being used to treat over 80 different diseases including leukemia, sickle cell anemia and lymphoma.

Likewise, today, the current procedure does not require 30 days of isolation as it did years ago in George’s case. Doctors know more now and understand more about the body is going to react. Patients are often released within 2-3 days. For some, it can be less. For some, it may be more. Each case is different but amazing progress has been made in a relatively short time.

Biloxi Shuckers MLB group photo night out

Now, that we know the value of cord blood stem cells and recognize it as a true medical resource, we must go the next step . . . to SAVE it!

Currently, well over 90% of cord blood is thrown away in hospitals around the world, every day. Meanwhile, people are waiting for donors. Children are being diagnosed with illnesses or are suffering from injuries where their own cord blood could be used to help them (example: Duke is running clinical trials using a child’s own cord blood to treat cerebral palsy; Sutter in California is exploring the use of a child’s own cord blood to treat autism. . . the list goes on.)

Isn’t it sad that so few people are stop to think about cord blood when pregnant? We prefer to dream about strollers and cribs. Important, yes. But, perhaps not as life-changing as preserving cord blood.

If you are pregnant, stop. Think. Find a way to either donate or privately store your baby’s cord blood.
Use the resources on our website to help you in your search. Be empowered. Work with a doctor and a hospital that supports your choice.

Give life twice. #SAVETHECORD.

We Can I Can: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood


We are so grateful to George Cannette for sharing his amazing story with us as part of our on-going #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series in association with World Cancer Day.

George is truly an inspiration to us at Save the Cord Foundation. We think about him and people like him with every outreach effort we make. Thank you, George!

Learn more about how cord blood is being used to fight cancer!
Read more from #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood:

Did you know?

A recent study by the University of Colorado showed that cord blood transplants easily outperform bone marrow transplants in patients with regards to Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD).  The study compared leukemia patients from 2009-2014, three years post-transplant. They observed that. . .

“. . . the incidence of severe chronic graft-versus-host disease was 44 percent in patients who had received transplants from matched, unrelated donors (MUD) and 8 percent in patients who had received umbilical cord blood transplants (CBT). Patients who received CBT were also more likely to no longer need immunosuppression and less likely to experience late infections and hospitalizations. There was no difference in overall survival between these two techniques.”

Read more about this study.

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure: 3-Time Cancer Survivor, Nathan Mumford, Visits Baltimore

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure: 3-Time Cancer Survivor, Nathan Mumford, Visits Baltimore

UPDATED:  On August 4th, 2016, Save the Cord Foundation joined Nathan Mumford (KEM Foundation) and the Cord for Life Foundation to speak with doctors and nurses directly in Baltimore, Maryland about the need to save cord blood.  The group visited Mercy Medical Center and Saint Agnes Hospital. Both of these hospitals actively collect cord blood for public donation via the Cord for Life Foundation.



The importance of public cord blood banking (or also known as “cord blood donation”) is often overlooked by the media.  Parents often realize too late that they could have donated their child’s cord blood at birth and potentially saved the life of someone in need. Save the Cord Foundation is working to change this.

On August 4th, 2016, Save the Cord Foundation will be in Baltimore, Maryland with 3-time cancer survivor, Nathan Mumford, to spotlight the wonderful opportunity expectant mothers have to donate umbilical cord blood.  Baltimore’s own Mercy Medical Center has an active public cord blood donation program where expectant mothers’ can give life twice and donate their newborn’s for blood to save a life. 

The stem cells in cord blood are powerful. Similar to bone marrow (and sometimes better), cord blood stem cells can be used to treat and/or cure over 80 life threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Cord Blood stem cells are used much like a bone marrow stem cells to rebuild a diseased immune system. Cord blood is much easier to match than bone marrow and has a significantly lower risk of Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD). Yet, unfortunately, cord blood is thrown out 97% of the time as medical waste when a baby is born.

Meet Nathan Mumford. He is one of the many reasons we need to save and donate cord blood.  Nathan’s life was saved thanks to a cord blood transplant.  Nathan has fought cancer three times and won. Yet, as an African-American, Nathan faced a challenge known to many. . . it was impossible to find a bone marrow donor who matched when he needed it most. His doctors did not give up. Cord blood was the answer.

“Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell disease that can be treated with the stem cells extracted from blood extracted from the umbilical cord of newborns. Doctors can match cord blood to a patient and then transplant it to potentially save a life,” said Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center. Dr. Atlas will also be available for interview. For more information about cord blood donation at Mercy, visit

Currently, individuals of minority and blended ethnicities are dramatically under-represented on worldwide public registries for bone marrow/cord blood. Yet, over 40% of all individuals who need a transplant are of blended or minority ethnicity. Collecting cord blood from newborn’s of minority or blended ethnicity raises the chances that we can help facilitate more transplants.

In fact, cord blood donation is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Cord blood donation should be encouraged when the cord blood is stored in a bank for public use,” (source: Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation, Jan 2007, Vol 119 / Issue 1; ).

Nathan’s visit to Baltimore is a wake-up call to the local community of parents, doctors and nurses to understand how valuable cord blood is as a medical resource. Join us on August 4th to save a life!

Notes for Editors

Public cord blood donation is being made possible
at these Baltimore area hospitals
thanks to the Cord for Life Foundation.


Research to Reality: More Highlights from Cord Blood World Europe 2016

Continued from page one. 

Moving cord blood research from the lab to reality, parents and health professionals need to understand the evolving landscape of the cord blood industry. The following are additional highlights from the Cord Blood World Europe Congress 2016 held in London:

  • Improving cord blood’s lifesaving power – Dr. Filippo Milano:  The more we use cord blood to treat patients, the more we learn. As with any medicine or treatment, we are always trying to make it better. That is the exact focus of the cord blood program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

    Dr. Coleen Delaney and Dr. Filippo Milano are leading the way in improving outcomes for transplant patients. With more than 300 cord blood transplants to date, Dr. Milano confirmed. . .

    Outcomes for our patients reflect this effort, with survival rates equivalent to patients receiving unrelated donor bone marrow or peripheral blood hematopoietic cell transplants.

    Likewise, the team has been instrumental in finding ways multiply or expand the number of stem cells in each cord blood donation. This is a breakthrough discovery which could potentially benefit patients around the world undergoing a transplant or chemotherapy. Learn more about the Cord Blood Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center here.

  • Expanded Use of Public Cord Blood Banked Units – Dr. Beth Shaz:  As the Chief Medical Officer for the world’s first and largest public cord blood bank, New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program (NCBP), Dr. Shaz was quick to highlight the many uses for donated cord blood. She also pointed to cell expansion techniques of human cord blood progenitor cells that are now available and promise to improve patient outcomes.

    The NCBP is always looking for additional ways to use cord blood. Dr. Shaz mentioned the possibility of creating the next generation of products from high quality public cord blood units through the reprogramming of CD34+ cells into pluripotent stem cells. Learn more about the New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program here.
  • Need for More Cord Blood Donations from Ethnic Minorities – Dr. Moshe Israeli: 
    Dr Moshe Israeli, Public Cord Blood Banking

    Dr. Moshe Israeli, Quality Manager, Bedomaich Chayi Public Cord Blood Bank

    The world’s population is mixing more and more everyday. This is a beautiful thing. A wonderful new blend of cultures and ethnicities is being created. However, for patients in need of a stem cell transplant this blending creates a major challenge! Finding a match in this new “blended” world can be extremely difficult. Luckily, cord blood has fewer matching criteria than bone marrow but that does not make it “one size fits all.”

    Until science proves otherwise, cord blood must still be matched to the recipient. As with bone marrow, we are constantly faced with a challenge to attract ethnic minority donors. Dr. Israeli demonstrated this by using a case from his cord blood bank in Israel. He highlighted how much faster the Israeli population is “blending” as compared to other parts of the world.

    Learn more about the Bedomaich Chayi Public Cord Blood Bank here.

  • Bringing True Social Change – NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood – Charis Ober:  The state of Arizona has served as a learning lab for the cord blood movement. Ms. Ober discussed her experience as a cord blood educator and emphasized the necessity for teaching our youth about the science behind cord blood, how it is being used currently, the exciting research that is happening in the field and the potential for STEM careers in this area. Save the Cord Foundation officially launched the NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood program globally at the London conference ( #NEXTGENERATION )

    This program is unique in that it provides easy to use educational tools adapted for each age group. The program is open to all schools (from kindergarten to university level). It is a non-commercial program supported and promoted through official partners of the program better known as “Cord Blood Education Champions.” Find out more about NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood here.

Go to page 1 of this article.

Go to page 1 of this article.

We wish to thank the team at Cord Blood World Europe 2016 for their hard work and bringing together so many leading experts in the cord blood industry. #CordBloodEu 

Support cord blood education.
Please make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation to Save the Cord Foundation
so that we can continue to educate parents, health professionals and the #NEXTGENERATION!

Give a $10 tax-deductible donation.

From Research to Reality: More Cord Blood Needed

From Research to Reality: More Cord Blood Needed

More cord blood is needed. Groundbreaking potential treatments are quickly moving their way from research to reality.  This was the main message we heard from cord blood experts at the recent Cord Blood World Europe Congress in London.

Indeed, the world of cord blood may find itself shocked by a sudden increase in demand thanks to promising new applications if we do not start to prepare ourselves.  

You are probably aware that cord blood is already being used around the world to treat over 80 different diseases including many blood cancers. There is no doubt that as more doctors become aware of the distinct advantages of cord blood versus other treatments and drugs, we will inevitably see an increase in the demand for cord blood. This increase in usage will also rely on improvements in logistics related to cord blood collection and processing.

Yet, the most significant increase in demand for cord blood could potentially come from the encouraging research and clinical trials based on using cord blood to treat things like spinal cord injury (#sci), cerebral palsy and autism.

Just a note on the cord blood industry in 2016. . .

We all agree that the cord blood industry is still relatively young when compared to other health industries. As such, it still has lots of room for improvement.

The good news is that improvement is happening as more banks are recognizing the need for proper accreditation, doctors are becoming more familiar with the cord blood transplant process (how to prepare, what to expect, . . .), costs are coming down as banks are learning how to be more efficient, public banks are starting to find support from governments and generous donors, etc.

The industry is maturing. There will be some cord blood banks that don’t survive this next evolution in the industry. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and that is what we saw at the Cord Blood World Europe congress.

Parents need to understand this evolving landscape in order to anticipate how their child’s cord blood might be used. Depending on your particular family’s needs or priorities, you may choose to publicly donate or family bank your child’s cord blood. Educate yourself. Choose wisely.

For parents and health professionals alike, we would like to give you a few highlights from this conference ( #CordBloodEu ). Some of the speakers you may recognize from our Share the Science series or the NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood program.

  • A Look at the Future of Cord Blood Banking – Dr. Eliane Gluckman:  As the first doctor in the world to perform a cord blood transplant in 1988, Dr. Gluckman gave an overview of the potential future uses for cord blood and discussed possible areas of improvement for the industry. Dr. Gluckman has been instrumental in showing that cord blood can be used to treat leukemia and she laid the groundwork for many of the processes currently accepted worldwide.
  • Using Cord Blood for Spinal Cord Injury – Dr. Wise Young:  Presenting groundbreaking research using cord blood to treat spinal cord injury, Dr. Young was quick to point out that there are numerous clinical trials (including his own) using cord blood currently and many are having encouraging results. He discussed successes in his own research using a combination of cord blood, lithium and exercise to potentially treat chronic spinal cord injury, giving patients the ability to walk again and regain other bodily functions. Dr. Young confirmed that 75% of his patients in initial studies regained the ability to walk following his treatment.  His research is now in Phase II trials to confirm these results in the United States, India and China.

    Learn more by visiting the official site for the W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience (Division of Life Sciences at Rutgers University). Dr. Young encourages families and patients affected by spinal cord injury to visit the Keck Center during open days and workshops to learn more about their options for treatment. Online you can also join in discussions with others at
  • Using Cord Blood to Help the Brain (Cerebral palsy, autism, etc.) – Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg:  The work of Dr. Kurtzberg has garnered international attention. Based at Duke University, she has spent years studying how cord blood can potentially help the brain heal following an acquired or genetic brain injury. Her presentation showed examples of several children she has helped throughout the years using cord blood.  To date, her clinical trials have focused on intravenous infusions of autologous cord blood (using one’s own cord blood). Efficacy studies are also underway in babies with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and young children with cerebral palsy, congenital hydrocephalus and autism.
    You can learn more about Dr. Kurtzberg’s clinical trial at Duke University Medical Center here.


Continue to page two of this article.

Go to page 2 of this article.

Now, it’s your turn parents!

Being a parent today is not easy. Being an expectant parent may be even harder as you face numerous questions about your family’s future. You are faced with many unknowns. Yet, giving birth is a time of empowerment. You have a unique (and fleeting) opportunity to give life twice. Whether you donate or private bank your child’s cord blood, we ask you to please be pro-active. Be ready to challenges the myths and misunderstandings about cord blood. The truth is…it could save a life.

Learn more about your options and the key questions to ask. Start here. . .

Give life twice. Save cord blood.

Get the facts. Save the cord.

Shifts in the Cord Blood Market and Potential for Growth, interview with Charis Ober by Cord Blood World Europe

Shifts in the Cord Blood Market and Potential for Growth, interview with Charis Ober by Cord Blood World Europe


The following is an interview conducted by Cord Blood World Europe with Charis Ober, Executive Director of Save the Cord Foundation, in preparation for the World Cord Blood Europe Congress 2016 in London.

What do you think are the biggest achievements within the cord blood and transplantation sector within the past 12 months?

Over the past year, there have been numerous achievements in cord blood research and, in particular, in areas of regenerative medicine using cord blood.  However, at Save the Cord Foundation, we consider the biggest achievement in the past 12 months to be a shift in attitudes towards cord blood.  Parents and health professionals are starting to wake up to the need to save cord blood whether publicly or privately.  They are asking more questions, better questions, looking for ways to bring cord blood collection into their delivery rooms, challenging government leaders to do more. . . This shift in attitudes and general increase in awareness suggests that cord blood has a bright future and will inevitably be an integral part of healthcare worldwide, if we continue to work together.

How do you see the cord blood market change over the next 5 years?

There is no doubt that the industry is maturing and evolving.  In particular, the worlds of public and private cord blood banking are blending more and more through cooperative projects and hybrid business models. Indeed, there is often a halo effect for the private bank when operating in areas where public banking is commonly practiced. The halo effect can be defined in one word, “awareness.”  Awareness is achieved through education (with the best education coming from unbiased and non-commercial sources).

Over the next 5 years, we think this trend of blending public and private will continue. Yet, for these cooperative projects to succeed there will need to be true educational programs.  We know from experience that simple brochures and advertisements are not enough.  If we want to build a sustainable industry, we must increase awareness. We must educate. In particular, we must begin to educate our youth, the Next Generation . . . who in the next 5-8 years will begin the next phase of their lives as parents, scientists, doctors and nurses. We must begin now to educate them on cord blood so that saving cord blood becomes second nature.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the sector?

The biggest challenge is going mainstream with unbiased and non-commercial cord blood education. We have done a great job talking about ourselves to each other and expectant parents, but we have left an entire population in the dark– our youth. If we are ever going to gain traction on the cord blood movement, we must get the next generation on board.

What important points do you hope to convey at the congress, and what information can you give me now that delegates can look forward to?

I see this conference as a potential turning point in the industry.  With so many great minds in attendance, I look forward to presenting new ways that we can work together as an industry to increase awareness.  Save the Cord Foundation has an outstanding reputation for dynamic and informative educational programs. Whether we are hosting a Share the Science webinar with a leading researcher or answering questions from a high school student, we always put education first. Our newest educational program, Next Generation: Cord Blood, promises to provide a unique port of entry to young minds everywhere for both public and private cord blood banks worldwide. We will be presenting this new program in detail during the conference. We invite readers to watch a preview video here.

What do you think will be the biggest topic of discussion at Cord Blood World Europe, this May?

There are sure to be several hot topics during this upcoming conference such as expanding cord blood banking and donation, looking at new ways to expand the global cord blood market and hearing about all the new research and developments taking place that will change the face of medicine. We think all of these developments will likewise find a voice via our various educational programs at Save the Cord Foundation and, in particular, via Next Generation: Cord Blood.

What are you looking forward to most about Cord Blood World Europe?

This conference is an incredible opportunity to meet face-to-face, reconnect with education partners and collaborate with organizations and cord blood banks worldwide. We look forward to seeing you there!


Join Charis Ober at Cord Blood World Europe taking place this 18-19 May at the Business Design Centre London. For more information visit the website: or download the brochure


Why must we care about cord blood?
Why must we push for more cord blood education? 
We owe it to our children. We owe it to ourselves.

Discover NEXT GENERATION: Cord Blood and see how cord blood education can change the future of medicine.

next generation cord blood science fair


The Story of Diane Paradise: Cord Blood for Hodgkins Lymphoma (continued #WeCanICan series)

The Story of Diane Paradise: Cord Blood for Hodgkins Lymphoma (continued #WeCanICan series)

Cord Blood for Hodgkins Lymphoma: The Story of Diane Paradise (Part 2: #WeCanICan Series)

Part 2 in our on-going series “#WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood” (in association with World Cancer Day)

Continued from page one of “Hodgkins Lymphoma Game Over: Diane Paradise Beat the Odds”. . .
(Go back to page 1)

In 2012, she saw her doctors for a check-up and they told her the cancer was back for a 5th time. However, this time they were not recommending a bone marrow transplant because they did not think she would survive it. She was told there were no more options.

Diane would not accept this. She was determined to find a treatment. Why not pursue other avenues she thought? She had done it before with decent success. She had nothing to lose at this point.

Diane researched everywhere. One of her doctors recommended she speak with the specialists at Johns Hopkins University.

She made an appointment and the doctors initially suggested a half match bone marrow transplant. However, Johns Hopkins was also involved in a clinical trial that compared the side effects of half match transplants to that of cord blood transplants.

Diane was intrigued.

Note: This clinical trial is still on-going.

Purpose: Hematopoietic cell transplants (HCT) are one treatment option for people with leukemia or lymphoma. Family members, unrelated donors or banked umbilical cord blood units with similar tissue type can be used for HCT.

This study will compare the effectiveness of two new types of bone marrow transplants in people with leukemia or lymphoma: one that uses bone marrow donated from family members with only partially matched bone marrow; and, one that uses two partially matched cord blood units.

This clinical trial is still recruiting participants.

Study Start Date: June 2012

Estimated Study Completion Date: June 2019

Estimated Primary Completion Date: June 2018 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

(Source: )

She drilled her doctors with a hundred questions on the clinical trial. Her main doctor, Dr. Ephraim Fuchs, Professor of Oncology and Immunology, was extremely patient with her questions and appreciated having such a knowledgeable patient.

He even answered long emails in the middle of the night as Diane debated what to do.

Diane remembers. . .

“After much consideration and research, I decided to become part of the clinical trial. It was a random selection that determined I would get the cord blood transplant as opposed to a bone marrow transplant from a half-matched sibling.”

Diane was told she would receive the cord blood transplant on December 3rd, 2013.

The procedure would require 5 days of chemotherapy and a round of total body radiation to cleanse her body of her own stem cells. Then, she would receive a double cord blood transplant where doctors hoped the stem cells from each cord would compete against each other leaving the strongest and best to graft.

Transplant day arrived.

Diane was ready and did not know what to expect.  She was pleasantly surprised how simple the procedure was. A cord blood transplant is more like a blood transfusion than a typical organ transplant.
(Watch this video to see a cord blood transplant and the process involved.)

Still, time is of the essence as the cord blood is thawed and prepared by the lab then transported to the doctors who actually perform the transplant. The actual transplant itself only takes about 20-30 minutes.

Diane was kept under observation for two days.  Her family and friends helped with the recovery process which was more difficult than expected.

The effects of the chemo and radiation hit her about a week after the transplant and she began to suffer from severe dehydration, diarrhoea, infection, etc.

It was a bit of a rollercoaster as there was hope she was doing better one moment but she soon developed another issue. She would become concerned when her counts dropped.

However, on December 30th, 2013, doctors told her the good news.

The stem cells had completely grafted 100%, meaning that she was now essentially “cancer-free.” Diane was thrilled!

Ephraim Fuchs Johns Hopkins Hospital with Diane Paradise

Diane with Dr. Ephraim Fuchs of Johns Hopkins

She was ready to go home, day 59 post-transplant, when the physician assistant pulled her aside and said her latest routine test results suggested a different problem. She had fungal pneumonia.

This was a highly critical situation for someone in her state. They insisted that she remain at the hospital for treatment another 14 days. She did and luckily the fungal medication worked as expected. Finally, she could go home.

Diane began to feel stronger. Her weight increased. Her energy started to come back.

Finally, after 19 years of struggle and endless treatments, she was cancer-free. Her follow-up tests since the transplant have confirmed her good state of health.

Diane feels that she has finally turned the corner on cancer.

She describes receiving a cord blood transplant as getting a new lease on life. So invigorated by the results, she has even taken up new sports like river kayaking!

“With cord blood, you get a clean slate. All those lessons you learned about being healthy on this journey with cancer can now be applied to your clean slate,” says Diane.

Since her transplant, Diane has continued to rebuild her body using all of the knowledge that she has acquired throughout the years on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing cancer risks.

She has also continued with her career in new and interesting ways, namely the 365 Day Lifestyle project. Drawing on her experience and natural rebellious attitude (which has taken her far), Diane is using the 365 Day Lifestyle project to help others get the support and resources they need in overcoming life’s most difficult challenges.

It goes without saying that we should all be grateful to people like Diane who have opted to participate in clinical trials for cord blood.

Even if cord blood transplants have become much more common, researchers still have a lot of unanswered questions. The clinical trial in which she participated not only benefitted her but will bring insight to researchers and doctors everywhere.

When you ask Diane about her final thoughts on the experience, she is very clear. . .

“My biggest piece of advice is to know the cancer you have and the treatment options available. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you are completely satisfied with the answers. The more you know, the better advocate you can be for yourself.”

As you can imagine, Diane is also greatly saddened by the fact that the majority of hospitals treat cord blood as medical waste when it could potentially save lives.

She feels obligated to tell expectant moms everywhere how important it is to save cord blood which is one of the reasons she has shared her story with Save the Cord Foundation.

She is eternally grateful to the families who donated the cord blood units that ultimately helped her.

For National Cord Blood Awareness month, she made a video to honor the donor’s birthday of the cord blood that grafted and ultimately gave her a new life:

Diane meets people all of the time who find it hard to believe her story. Yet, here she is. Living proof that #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood!

*We wish to thank Diane for her time and assistance with this article.
To learn more about Diane, click here.

WCD2016_WeCanICan_webLearn 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.

Hodgkins Lymphoma Game Over: Diane Paradise Beat the Odds (Part 2: #WeCanICan Series)

Hodgkins Lymphoma Game Over: Diane Paradise Beat the Odds (Part 2: #WeCanICan Series)

Hodgkins Lymphoma Game Over: Diane Paradise Chose Cord Blood Over Bone Marrow Transplant and Chemo (Part 2: #WeCanICan Series)

Deathly sick with Hodgkins Lymphoma and facing the 5th recurrence of the disease, Diane Paradise pushed doctors to help her. Educated about her options and her own body, she opted to participate in a clinical trial with cord blood instead of pursuing the usual bone marrow transplant and extended chemotherapy. This was a choice she does not regret. Diane is living proof that #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood.

Part 2 in our on-going series “#WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood” (in association with World Cancer Day)

#WeCanICan: #BeatCancer with Cord Blood

Hodgkins Lymphoma Survivor Diane Paradise

Diane Paradise

At Save the Cord Foundation, we consider it an honor to meet cancer survivors like Diane Paradise. Each time we hear of someone’s personal fight against this terrible disease we get emotional. This is as human as it gets. A patient desperate for a solution only to be told that there is no cure. A doctor trying their best to help with the means they have. Everyone crossing their fingers that this time it is going to work.

Diane Paradise has been down this road too many times. She remembers her initial shock in 1994 when she was initially diagnosed with Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease. She was 24 and her life was about to change forever.

It all started with a lump under her arm. The doctor tested it and the results said it was benign. Five months later as second lump had formed. This time, the diagnosis was clear. It was December 1994 and doctors started her on 6 months of chemotherapy followed by 6 weeks of radiation.  She suffered the side effects. . .nausea, vomiting, days and days of soreness associated with chemotherapy. In addition, the radiation treatment left her with 3rd degree burns.

About Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease (NLPHD):
-Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin disease (NLPHD) is a rare form of Hodgkins Lymphoma which typically accounts for only 5% of Hodgkins Disease cases.
-Doctors sometimes refer to these particular cancer cells as “popcorn cells” because of their unique shape similar to popcorn. NLPHD can occur at any age.
-Typically, this form of Hodgkins Lymphoma occurs more frequently in men than women.

Diane never stopped working during this time.  She was determined to not slow down and it seemed the treatments were a success.  She went into remission for 6 years.

Then, in 2001, during an annual check-up, her doctors gave her bad news. The cancer was back and this time the doctors said it was worse.  They told her it was incurable. She was advised that they could try a bone marrow transplant but that she would also need 10 months of chemotherapy.

Diane underwent numerous cancer treatments.

Fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma, Diane underwent numerous cancer treatments over the years.

Diane refused to give up. She had learned a lot about Hodgkins Lymphoma by this point. She also knew how her body reacted to the chemo and radiation.  She was leery of how well she could handle the chemotherapy.  She sought out alternatives to the recommended bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. Her search led her to Arizona where she entered a clinic to undergo a naturopathic treatment protocol.

This alternative treatment was successful at keeping the cancer at bay for several years. However, in 2005, she regrettably found herself sick again. She promptly underwent Rituxin therapy and appeared to be getting better.

Time passed and Diane began to rebuild her life. Yet, in 2008, the cancer raised its ugly head again for a 4th time.  With the guidance of her conventional oncologist, Diane continued with her alternative treatment of diet, supplements and high dose vitamin C for two years under the watchful eye of her oncologist.  She was a model patient and again she managed to keep it under control during this watch and wait period.

Suddenly it shifted and during round 4, she learned it had metastasized into her bone marrow. She was wheelchair bound and underwent another round of chemotherapy and Rituxin until early 2011. She went into remission again according to her oncologist. Relieved, she started to return to life “as normal” and moved back to the East coast to be with her husband who had been transferred earlier that year.

In 2012, she saw her doctors for a check-up and they told her the cancer was back for a 5th time.  She immediately began a regimen of Rituxin again combined with Bendamustine. When these treatments showed no signs working effectively, the doctor informed her that there were no other options. She did not recommend a bone marrow transplant because she did not think Diane would survive it.

Frustrated, Diane decided it was time to find a new doctor. One who wasn’t quite as willing to give up. She started with a local cancer center where they were not only willing to continue treating her, but also recommended she search out some larger cancer hospitals who specialized in research. Her doctor at the cancer center wanted her to explore all possible options. . . . Click here to continue reading.

WCD2016_WeCanICan_webIn addition the materials provided by Save the Cord Foundation, we invite you to discover the numerous tools and fact sheets on cancer awareness, prevention and treatment provided in association with World Cancer Day.

Click here to find out how you can help build awareness of innovative treatments using cord blood.


nathan mumford cancer survivor cord blood for leukemiaRead part one in our #WeCanICan: Beat Cancer with Cord Blood series where we introduce to 3-time cancer survivor, Nathan Mumford (better known as “3-Peat”).  Like Diane, Nathan defied the odds thanks to cord blood.

Upcoming Event: Cord Blood Experts Meet in London for World Congress

Upcoming Event: Cord Blood Experts Meet in London for World Congress

Save the Cord Foundation is proud to announce that we will be presenting in London along with other cord blood experts at the upcoming Cord Blood World Europe Congress.

Cord blood experts agree. . . progress is happening at lightning speed in terms of cord blood research and current applications. Doctors around the world are learning how to use cord blood effectively to treat patients affected by one of more than 80 different diseases. Yet, as the industry grows and matures, there is a growing need for cord blood experts to agree on how we should reduce costs, increase inventories, improve quality and thus improve our chances for more transplants.

This spring we will be in London at the Cord Blood World Europe Congress presenting. . .

“What is the “Cord Blood Education Movement” and what could this mean for the industry?”

We will be talking not only about our own work in the area of cord blood education but how important social change is to the industry in general. We are on the cusp of a medical revolution as cord blood transplants are now becoming more common and recent research has confirmed the importance of cord blood stem cells (and perinatal stem cells in general) in the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

However, it is clear that progress will be stopped in its tracks if the industry does not invest in education at all levels with parents, medical professionals and even government officials.

At Save the Cord Foundation, we take cord blood education seriously and we have seen what a difference it can make when everyone is clear on the facts. . . honest about the current state of research. . . pro-active in asking parents to either donate or family bank their child’s cord blood. The challenges are not unique to one country, one region or one state. The challenges facing the industry cross political borders and demand the attention of both public and private sectors.

Education is key to social change and social change is key to the future of the industry.

We need to invest in cord blood education the same way we invest in research. It is not about providing commercial flyers. It is about providing truly educational programs. It is about providing support and guidance. It is about encouraging more questions. . . learning.Charis Ober, Director of Save the Cord Foundation

We simply can’t progress without education. It needs to be integral to everything we do.

Without education, . . who will carry this industry forward? 
How can we expect government leaders to make appropriate policies for the industry?
How do we expect cord blood inventories to increase whether public or private?

How do expect doctors to consider cord blood transplants for patients? 

It’s clear. We must invest in education just like we invest in research. They go hand in hand. Education is key to true and healthy social change.

We hope you can join us for this lively discussion on day 2 of the Cord Blood World Europe Congress in London where these issues and many others will be . . . debated, solved and pushed forward into new ideas. Progress is bound to happen at this event where cord blood experts like Gluckman, Kurtzberg, Wise Young and many others will be present.

Let’s learn from each other and take advantage of one of nature’s most wonderful gifts. . . cord blood.

Give life twice. #SAVETHECORD.

cord blood experts world congress



We wish to thank Cord Blood World Europe (visit site) and Free Digital Photos (visit site) for their contributions to this article.

cord blood world europe 2016 logo


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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