In San Antonio Texas, Valentina DeLeon was a skinny baby at ten months. She was regularly vomiting and she had no appetite to eat.
Severe combined immunodefiency (SCID) – this is her doctor’s diagnosis and she was immediately ordered to undergo high-dose of chemotherapy. After the chemotherapy, she’s expected to receive cord blood transplant.
Luckily, a donated cord blood was a match. A cord blood contains stem cells and these can be used as a miracle tool to give cure to fatal diseases such as Cerebral Palsy and blood diseases.
The transplant went good and new cells start to grow and it gave her a stronger immune system. Exactly five months after the transplant (September 2011), anyone can instantly recognize the improvements in Valentina’s overall health.
She began to gain weight, weighing more than nine kilograms and her parents took her home. Her immune disorder was gone and every moment of her life must be treated as a celebration.
The China Cord Blood Corporation (CCBC) is the first and the only cord blood banking operator in China. The bank is responsible for cord blood collection, hematopoietic processing of stem cell, laboratory testing and stem cell storage services.
CCBC releases its preliminary results for the fiscal year of 2012. These financial data remains unaudited and it ended on June 30, 2011. Its first quarter revenue is increased by 22% ($13. 5 Million). The bank’s Chairperson & Chief Executive Officer releases am official statement and she said,
“Our first quarter delivered strong financial performance driven by sustained growth in subscriber demand year-over-year following the upward price adjustment implemented in April 2011. Our strategy to develop a strong sales network while broadening our commercial reach has built a widely-recognized brand and an easily accessible network that will greatly facilitate our efforts to attract new subscribers.”
“In addition to solid financial performance, this quarter had several exciting developments. The Ministry of Health has issued new guidelines extending the ‘Ten Licenses Policy’, which reiterated that no more than ten licenses will be issued for the provision of cord blood banking services through 2015.”
“We welcome the policy extension as it sets a clear guideline for the industry and the general public. With access to three licenses and our 19.92% investment in Shandong Cord Blood Bank, we are fully committed to the development of the cord blood banking industry in China and will continue to grow by driving subscriber penetration rates…”
CCBC’s subscribers (more than 198,000) and new registrations (more than 12,000) have also moved up. The gross profit is increased by 24.1% or $10.5 Million and there’s also two percent increased in the gross margin (from 75.9% to 77.3%) from the prior year. Most importantly, its operating income goes up and it now clocks at 31.7%.
Actual figures were released earlier last month by the National Marrow Donor Program “Be-The-Match-Registry” and it reveals acute shortage of donations from minorities. More than sixty percent of donated cord blood came from Caucasians and that’s less than half of 1% of cord blood units from Native Americans.
Only 7% of cord blood units belong to Black and Asian Americans. Those Hispanics also donate but its percentage is less than twenty percent. The Arizona Republic interviewed medical professionals about this issue and they just assumed one of the reasons why minority donations are scarce because they can’t afford the cost of private banking, which include monthly fee and annual storage fee.
This is the main reason why Arizona Biomedical Research Commission extended their hands to cover all those necessary expenses needed in cord blood donation. The state’s Federal Heath Resources Service Administration added funding for the said project amounting to $6.2 million for three to five years. The project is expected to collect 5,000 cord blood units.
This national and lifesaving project as funded by state lottery money just began this summer. In Phoenix Baptist alone the staffs collected roughly 25 units and its first unit came from a Hispanic mom. All units will be stored in Colorado National Bank.
The other two participating hospitals are St. Joseph’s Hospital and Maricopa Medical Center.
It’s confirmed by Dr. Alex F. Herrera from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston that Diarrhea is an expected complication of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). This syndrome is called colitis. It is defined as a constant diarrheal illness and it’s not cause d by acute graft-vs-host disease (GVHD).
A new study made by the hospital reveals there are cases of cord colitis syndrome and it occurred in eleven of one hundred four patients. These cases have been characterized in terms of clinical and pathological features. Its onset after transplantation is 131 days. Dr. Herrera is the author of September Issue of New England Journal of Medicine and he wrote,
“The cord colitis syndrome is clinically and histopathologically distinct from acute GVHD and other causes of diarrhea in patients who have undergone cord-blood HSCT and is relatively common in this patient population. The syndrome should be considered in such patients who have diarrhea that is not attributable to other causes.”
“The cord colitis syndrome responds to antibacterial therapy, which suggests an infectious, possibly bacterial, cause. The histopathological findings observed in the cord colitis syndrome are similar to those seen in Crohn’s disease. There is evidence that antibiotics may be a useful adjunctive therapy in patients with Crohn’s disease. A greater understanding of the cord colitis syndrome may provide insights into the pathophysiology of Crohn’s disease.”
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening and progressive condition in which thick mucus mounts up in the lungs, harms your digestion and those infected males are infertile.
This what happened to Charlie Legge. At age five, he becomes the only person in Queenstowner in New Zealand who suffered CF.
His mom, Kate, got pregnant a couple of years after. Before delivery, Kate was advised by her midwife to preserve the umbilical cord in CordBank. The CordBank is a private cord blood bank that offers free services for Kiwi families who have a child with cystic fibrosis. The cord blood is preserved and it is well-kept in a cryogenic storage.
When Charlie became positive of CF, it was a blessing from heaven and the cord blood was used to revive his system. His old cells were altered with new ones and he’s expected to get well in the coming days.
This procedure is called cord blood transplant. The University of Melbourne performed its clinical trials and their research department confirms a transplant used with cord blood stem cells can cure CF.
As a result of cord blood transplant, Charlie becomes better. He received twenty minutes of physio to clear his lungs and took tablets after meals to support digestion.
“Physiotherapy, medication, nutrition and exercise are four important things. Charlie swims, likes his scooter and wants to start ice skating, and we’re going to get a trampoline for him. He’s extremely healthy and he’s never been hospitalised which is very unusual for a five-year-old with cystic fibrosis.” His mother said.
“I definitely think there’s going to be dramatic change with cystic fibrosis in Charlie’s lifetime.”
Two weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Auction for Recovery” and it’s about a kid who’s sick with acute myeloid leukemia. This kid’s name is Chace and after his final round of chemotherapy, he went through a lot of pain for about three weeks.
Chace even developed a severe rash. He was allergic to one of those drugs administered to him and his entire face went black/purple. To recover, he also needed high doses of morphine to reduce the pain. Chace also needs to be on steroids to promote growth of the stem cell.
Three weeks after the cord blood transplant, the doctors notice good changes in Chace’s immune system. His overall health is getting stronger and he’s already walking around the room. Both his parents were happy to hear him singing and to see him dance.
Both Chace’s parents were trying to move on from the horrific experience and are also grateful for the unconditional support they received.
“This has been the most difficult experience of our lives but we have been truly humbled by the ongoing generosity of family, friends and the wider community.”
Chace’s grandfather, Mr. Rod Topperwien, raised $75,000 toward the overseas medical intervention. Ryan Topperwien was thankful of his father and just said:
“If we do it’s a last-ditch bid. We want people to know we are very thankful. It’s just one step at a time. We know he’s not out of the woods yet but at the moment it’s an emotional high.”
I woke up this morning, turned my computer on and checked my mail alerts. I used to collect alerts about “cord blood transplant” and as of the moment, I read about a hundred cases that are hard to forget. I scanned my alerts and just like that, a story of a mom immediately caught my attention.
Her way of thinking on cord blood is different. To her, “it’s better to have it than not to have it.” One day, she was handed with a brochure for cord blood banking. She read it and all the information were new to her. It was her first time to know the umbilical cord of an infant is filled with rich stem cells. These are the type of stem cells that are the building blocks of healthy cells and it can cure fatal diseases like cancers, cerebral palsy, Type I Diabetes, etc.
When she got pregnant with her first child, she talked to her husband about her decision to bank cord blood. She’s thinking if they can invest their money for a car then why not keep something to save a life. It’s inevitable for her to feel hesitant and ask several what-if questions. Saving a cord blood can be stored successfully for more than seven years without any signs of degeneration. If in any case a couple won’t need it, they can still choose to donate it or save it for another sibling (25% compatibility match). For her, she’ll feel safer once she and her husband have a cord blood preserve in a bank.
A fungal infection or rather known as Aspergillosis is one of the most feared side effects when treating leukemia. This type of infection is exactly what three-year-old Zach Gowling, a local kid in Monmouth, Illinois, who received treatment to cure his PH+ Leukemia.
As a result of his first but failed cord blood transplant, Zach suffered more complications (pancreatitis is just one of them) and a weaker immune system. He also needed to undergo two brain surgeries to combat Aspergillosis.
Zach stayed emotionally strong during the difficult times and while preparing for his second cord blood transplant. Even his father admired his inner strength to “never griped and always did what he was told.” (ReviewAtlas, August 2011)
Before the scheduled treatment, it’s inevitable that Zach’s parents received direct advice from the doctors just to go home and wait for the expected. However, good times happen when least expected. Doctors confirmed there were no major setbacks after the surgery. Zach could fully recover.
As of the moment, although he might have little deficit in his growth, Zach performs well in school and been a straight A student. Below are what he wrote on his mom’s Facebook page.
“I am 11 and I am a two-time cancer survivor. I don’t remember all the details. … I remember bits and pieces. I remember being hooked up to so many cords. Mom called me her ‘little puppy on a leash.’ I remember Dad making me walk laps in the hall even when I didn’t want to. He said I’d get sicker if I didn’t. I remember people coming in to my room and talking about me like I wasn’t there. Sometimes I would fake sleep. I remember Mom and Dad being sad sometimes and trying not to let me see.”
“I remember lots of good stuff too. I remember my doctor being a little funny guy who always liked to squish on my stomach. I remember nurses, lots of nurses who always took care of me and made me smile. I remember the toy bin in clinic — that was AWESOME!”
“I remember meeting a donkey named Apple. I remember watching helicopters come and go from the helipad outside my bone marrow room. Firefighters visiting from Tucson No. 5 making me an honorary firefighter. I still have the get-well sign they made me. I remember Dad smuggling in a tarantula in a tupperware bin and we named it after one of the nurses. I remember Mom sitting on her own piece of pizza and not even knowing it until Dad told her. … I know I got to know Mom really good. She says I can still read her like a book.”
Chace Topperwien was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when he’s about two. This was the moment where his life completely changed. He’s losing weight fast, he’s getting weaker and the complications of his disease started to appear. Both his parents (Ryan & Keri), who are both 27 years in age, needed to give up their jobs just to attend Chace’s needs.
Luckily, the family received big help from their friends and relatives. A lot of them sent their prayers and financial contributions. They also scheduled to raise funds through a breakfast auction “Shave for Chace.” In fact, the venue of the breakfast took place at Waikato University Academy of Performing Arts on July 28, 2011 (7:30 AM) and tickets were sold for $50 to $450 for every table of ten persons.
Naomi Simmonds, a close friend of Keri and the head organizer of the breakfast auction, said:
“We really just wanted to get behind her … and just support them in what is probably every parents’ worst nightmare. We’ve had lots of people ring in and email and say the story’s really touched them and they want to support.”
Ryan Topperwein confirmed his son’s last round of chemotherapy was successful. It reduced the cancer cells and his doctor declared Chace is fully ready for cord blood transplant.
This morning, I opened my mail alerts and it’s nice to read some good news. I quickly read it and I realize there’s much chances for cord blood industries to prosper.
In United Kingdom, a funding worth £4 million is invested for stem cell services. A man by the name of Anthony Nolan runs a charity and he decided to work hand-in-hand with the country’s successful stem cell register (NHS Blood & Transplant). Through this, Nolan is on a mission to increase the collection by recruiting more qualified donors.
This fund project is said to include three parts:
First, Anthony Nolan with the help of NHS Blood & Transplant firms up and they will be given access to more than seven hundred adult donors in the country.
Second, a suitable match for the transplant can easily be search because Nolan becomes the sole contact point and a fit panel composed of twenty-thousand young adult donors will be established.
Lastly, there’s budget of £2 million for five existing cord blood banks. As one of the largest bank in the world, the NHS Cord Blood Bank is expected to raise its collection samples from seventeen thousand to thirty-five thousand units.