London Puts the Spotlight on Cord Blood
The first day of the event focused on introducing banks to the FACT Cord Blood inspection process as well as the need for international standards. A portion of the day was also dedicated to explaining the role of the inspector and the requirements for becoming an inspector.
On the second day, meetings ran in tandem featuring a variety of topics and speakers. Attendees were encouraged to float between the two rooms and attend those meeting most important to them. In one room, FACT focused on real world applications of procedures and concepts. The day was designed to strengthen attendees quality assurance knowledge through a variety of presentations and exercises.
One of our favorite presentations and exercises looked at the implications and risks of having standards that are too strict given the potential new applications for cord blood in the near future. This topic was led by Ed Brindle, MSc, MLT from Insception Lifebank cord blood bank in Canada and an active volunteer on the FACT Accreditation Standards Committee. He challenged attendees to work together to determine the pros and cons of changing certain acceptance criteria for cord blood units and the impact that these changes would have on current and future therapies.
Another notable presentation was made by Gesine Koegler, PhD who discussed the recent evolutions in the industry, namely the NetCord and WMDA partnership. Not only did Koegler give an overview of current trends in the industry but she spoke in great detail about the benefits of bringing WMDA and NetCord together under one umbrella. Born out of common goals, the new partnership signals another milestone for the industry as a whole.
Just upstairs, the Cord Blood Association together with ISCT and ABSMT held a full day of presentations. They hosted a truly dynamic group of speakers including Jaap Boelens, PhD. and Juliet Barker, MBBS. Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg and Dr. Elizabeth J. Shpall presented alongside key leaders in the field to cover topics such as cord expansion, cord blood versus haplo trends and breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. Each presentation was packed with useful information and the question/answer sessions were particularly beneficial.
Without a doubt the 2-day Cord Blood Spotlight was both highly educational and practical. As attendees, we learned about the importance of international standards for both public and private cord blood banks. We also enjoyed hearing how the latest research is advancing and then going back to the workshops to explore how the standards might change in the future based on these developments.
One thing is clear. . . the best public/private cord blood banks understand these details. They are actively making sure that the cord blood units they store are accessible and usable for current applications. They are also preparing today for what the near future holds, especially with regards to regenerative medicine.
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