News
Friday, December 07, 2012 - DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital launches cord blood banking program

DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital launches cord blood banking program

DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital is the first hospital in Detroit and among the first hospitals in the region to launch an umbilical cord blood banking program as part of an effort to provide life-saving hope for those who have been diagnosed with cancer and serious blood disorders.

Expecting mothers can now opt to have their child’s umbilical cord blood stored and used to save lives across the globe instead of simply disposing of it after birth as is traditionally the case.

“In the past, umbilical cords were just thrown away,” said Dr. L. Andrea Coleman, OB/GYN chief at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital. “It’s wasteful. Now, blood can be collected from the cord after it is removed from the baby and placed in a national match program. It would be huge to be able to use that cord blood instead of throwing it away.”

Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells, progenitor cells which can form red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Cord blood cells can be used to treat several life-threatening diseases and play an important role in the treatment of blood and immune system-related genetic diseases, cancers and blood disorders. Children and adults suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell diseases can greatly benefit from cord blood transplants.

“More patients are able to get transplants with the cord blood because it doesn’t need to match the tissue the way bone marrow does,” Coleman explained.

Approximately 50 percent of patients requiring a bone marrow transplant will not find a suitable donor within a critical time period. Recent studies have shown that cord blood has unique advantages over traditional bone marrow transplantation, particularly in children, and can be life-saving in rare cases where a suitable bone-marrow donor cannot be found.

The cord blood banking program launched at Sinai-Grace on October 15. The process is free and voluntary.

“Our hope is that every single mom who gives birth at Sinai-Grace chooses to donate the cord blood,” Coleman said. “You can not only give birth, but you can give hope.”

Sinai-Grace is working with the J.P. McCarthy Cord Stem Cell Bank at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, a public, non-profit stem cell bank founded in 2001. It is one of only a few internationally recognized cord stem cell banks affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program. For more information, visit www.karmanos.org/cordblood.

TV20 Detroit's Jorge Avellan visited DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital on Dec. 7 and witnessed the birth of little Mavel, whose mother, Britney Lindsey, graciously donated her baby's umbilical cord blood. Click here to watch his report:

Tiny Newborns Help Save Lives