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Cord Blood Stem Cells Stored At No Cost To Families With An Identified Medical Need Provide Therapeutic Options

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to the Newborn Possibilities Program® by Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®), families facing serious medical conditions with few options may have access to family cord blood stem cell banking services at no cost. This program enables access to genetically related newborn stem cells for future treatment. A group of families who participated in the Tucson Medical Center pilot of the Newborn Possibilities Program have participated in clinical trials using their own stem cells. One Tucson mom, Jessica Schaefer, had a difficult pregnancy with complications that qualified her for this program when she delivered her son, Logan. Logan's cord blood stem cells were processed and stored in CBR's state-of-the-art stem cell processing and storage facility at no cost and provided a therapeutic option for him.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120216/AQ54476LOGO)

"I am blown away that this program was available to me when I delivered Logan," says Schaefer. "I am so grateful to CBR for the chance to have my son participate in the Medical College of Georgia's clinical trial for cerebral palsy. We feel blessed to have the unique opportunity to possibly help Logan lead a happier life, while also helping to advance the science of stem cell therapies."



The Newborn Possibilities Program is a corporate initiative from Cord Blood Registry designed to ensure that families with an identified medical need and babies born after high-risk deliveries have a free option to save cord blood stem cells in the event they may be used in future treatment and potentially provide access to clinical trials. Nearly 3,000 physicians have collected units for the Newborn Possibilities Program and CBR has stored nearly 5,000 units under the program since its inception.



Stem Cell Collection Pilot Paves Path to Clinical Trial Enrollment"We created the Newborn Possibilities Program as a catalyst for medical researchers to advance clinical trials involving newborn stem cells," says Geoffrey Crouse, chief executive officer of CBR.  "At the same time, we help identify families with a diagnosed condition who might directly benefit from family banking through a transplant."

Cherie Lennex has also enrolled her son, Nathan, in the cord blood stem cell trial for cerebral palsy in Georgia. She had learned about her options for saving cord blood, but could not fit private storage in her budget at the time. Her pregnancy was routine, but Nathan came early, qualifying her for the Newborn Possibilities Program Tucson Medical Center pilot.

"When representatives from the program called for a routine follow-up to check on Nathan's development, we confirmed he was missing milestones and might be at risk for developing cerebral palsy," noted Lennex. "Nathan was my first child and I hadn't really considered that something might be wrong with his development. Once he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and we were informed of the study in Georgia, it became immensely clear just how fortunate we are to have his stem cells stored. We are very grateful."

In less than two years under the Newborn Possibilities Program Tucson Medical Center pilot, cord blood stem cells were collected and stored at no cost from more than 1,100 babies who demonstrated signs of potential neurologic damage based upon predetermined criteria. Following the cord blood collection, CBR program managers contact the families on a regular basis to track the children's medical and developmental status. Of those who have been evaluated to date, early assessments helped CBR  identify seven children within one year of their birth, with conditions where stem cells are being investigated as potential treatments. Three of those children have enrolled in clinical trials and more than 60 children have been identified at this early stage as being at risk for developmental delays by 24 months of age, which can be an indicator of neurological damage. 

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