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Health & Medicine

Upstate Cord Blood Bank Opens for Life-Saving, Research Essential Cells

John Smith/WAER News

Pregnant Mothers in Central New York now have an important choice to make at the time their child’s birth… to donate their umbilical cord or not for potential lifesaving stem cell treatments.  The ribbon was cut today on the $15 million Upstate Cord Blood Bank at the Community Campus.  Upstate President Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena says it’s one of only 32 public cord blood banks across the U-S and only one of two in the State.

“The distinction of being a public cord blood is very important.  This designation means that anyone can donate umbilical cord blood without charge and that the donated blood is available to anyone who needs it.”

Credit Leo Tully/WAER News
The Upstate Cord Blood Bank is near the Community Campus on Onondaga Hill.

The doctor adds that Central New York Mothers who donate umbilical cords can save lives and advance the stem cell research field.  The first donation came a to the bank a week ago.  Nicole and Mark Moore decided they would donate when their son Jackson was born.

“It was really a simple, pain free experience that we hope will be able to help somebody in the future.  You know, and it’s really neat; we are proud that our first act as a family was being able to give back.”

Senator John Defrancisco secured millions of dollars for the project.  Now he hopes that more expectant mothers like Nicole will take advantage of it.

“It’s getting the word out so that as many pregnant mothers as possible can learn that this is an option.  Rather than throw these valuable stem cells away (cord blood) can be used to cure people.”

Credit John Smith/WAER News
The cord blood can be used for research, to generate cells to fight disease, or stored for use to help cure a family's future health issues.

Cord Blood Bank Director Doctor Nicholas Greco explains they are essentially a cell manufacturing center which will supply other transplant centers conducting clinical trials.

“So you can develop new neurons and Oligodendrocytes in the brain.  You can develop new liver cells and pancreas cells.  So you can re-grow or repair all tissues in the body using cord blood.”

There is also a family bank at the cord-blood bank in case families want to store stem cells for a fee, to be accessed if a family member has a future medical need.  That would provide them with the best stem-cell match possible.