Viacord Press Release
Cord blood private banking involves storing your own cord blood mononuclear cells in case you need them later. Cord blood public banking involves banking the cells into a public pool so that if others need them, they have access to them. In some ways it seems like cord blood private banking is based more on hope than on reality. The majority of uses of cord blood are in leukemias. In patients with leukemia you need to use the cord blood of a related or unrelated donor, but rarely if ever do you want to use your own cord blood because it may have the leukemic mutations in it that caused the leukemia to appear in the first place. Therefore, the majority of cord blood banking is based on the belief that in the future the FDA will allow for procedures to take your banked cord blood, manipulate it to generate certain tissues in vitro and then reimplant those tissues back in you if you need them. There are of course exceptions to this. For example, there are clinical trials using your own cord blood for the treatment of cerebral palsy. Specifically, Georgia Health Sciences University is doing a 40 patient cord blood study in patients with cerebral palsy who have stored their own cord blood http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01072370. Additionally, Joanne Kurtzberg from Duke is performing an 120 patient study in children with cerebral palsy that have stored their own cord blood http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01147653. Other diseases are also being explored experimentally. Clinical trials are also being performed using patient’s own cord blood for type 1 diabetes. A group in Germany is doing a 10 patient trial http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00989547 and a group in Florida recently completed a 23 patient trial http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00305344.
Thus at present the field of private cord blood banking may have some very high future potential. Large companies are realizing this and accordingly are moving into this space. Perkin Elmers announced today that it has licensed technologies patented by AuxoCell Laboratories involving processing and storage of mesenchymal stem cells from the umbilical cord. As we discussed previously on the Cellmedicine website, the umbilical cord possesses mesenchymal stem cells that are in some ways more potent than bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells because they are more immature. The licensing of this technology will allow for Perkin Elmers to deliver to customers the ability to bank not only hematopoietic stem cells but also mesenchymal stem cells. There are many uses for mesenchymal stem cells. In fact numerous clinical trials have been performed using autologous mesenchymal stem cells for conditions ranging from heart failure, to graft versus host, to spinal cord injury.
“AuxoCell is pleased to partner with PerkinElmer’s ViaCord in offering umbilical cord tissue banking and expand our strategic partnerships to bring novel stem cell therapies from the bench to the bedside,” said Kyle Cetrulo, chief operating officer of AuxoCell Laboratories, Inc. “Partnering with ViaCord was an easy decision. They are the first family bank in the United States to freeze treatment-ready cord tissue stem cells upon arrival at the lab, which enables them to be ready for immediate use, if needed.”
“ViaCord is excited to offer another source of stem cells to our customers and believe we have found an excellent partner in AuxoCell. The agreement grants ViaCord’s customers exclusive access, in family banking, to expanding MSCs derived from cord tissue through AuxoCell’s elite patents,” said Morey Kraus, ViaCord’s chief scientific officer. “AuxoCell’s proprietary and validated manufacturing protocols will assist ViaCord in offering the very best in stem cell banking.”