Monday, August 17, 2015

Cordlife Shares Stem Cell Breakthroughs

When I gave birth to Berry in the U.S. 6 years ago, we banked her cord blood.

Not a lot of people did it at the time, but Dada figured that by the time she was older, breakthroughs would have happened and we might as well bank it now, than be sorry later. 

When I gave birth to Xavi here, I was thinking one cord blood saved for the family would be enough, but Dada insisted we bank Xavi's too. And the same happened with Tepper.

Admittedly, I viewed it then as an expense, as we have to keep on paying storage fees every year. But hopefully, and from what I've seen at the Stem Cell Forum sponsored by Cordlife during a Rotary event I attended recently, breakthroughs in stem cell therapies are happening and by the looks of it, I'm now glad we banked it.

a list of all the diseases that are now treatable with stem cells

Of course the best would be not ever having to use it, actually.

But as per Dr. Gianna Montenegro, cord blood banking advocate, parents ought to be aware of the benefits of cord blood banking.

Atty. Lorna Kapunan shares a story of loss and Dr. Gianna Montenegro talks about the importance of increasing awareness on banking a child's cord blood

The evening's emcee, Atty. Lorna Kapunan shared the heartbreaking loss of her son King to leukemia, several years ago. Up to now, she still tries to find meaning in her grief, and believes that advocating cord blood banking may save other parents the sorrow and pain she went through.

After all, the chances of healing for a child with leukemia has considerably improved with today's advances in stem cell therapy.

Other speakers such as BIR Deputy Commissioner Nelson Aspe and Rotary Past President Raffy Garcia also shared their stories of losing a daughter and a father to diseases treatable with stem cell therapy.

Atty. Aspe's daughter went through a bone marrow transplant, and Mr. Garcia's father flew all the way to Houston, Texas for expensive treatments. In both cases, it was evident that family members will spare no expense to save the life of someone dear to them. That's just how it is.

You want to be able to say you've exhausted all possible means of a cure, and did not give up, because the loss is more unbearable if you could have done something about it but didn't, right?

The bottom line here is, if you are expecting a baby or know of someone who is about to give birth soon, consider banking cord blood. You don't want to be left wishing you did it years later.

Let me share with you some of the highlights from the forum, as shared by Dr. Arvin Faundo of Cordlife and Dr. Gianna Montenegro:

1. Stem cells are nature's building blocks and repairmen. They are capable of self-renewal and differentiation into specialized cells.

2. The placenta, umbilical cord tissues/lining and cord blood are normally discarded and treated as medical waste, but are a rich source of stem cells. Bank it! (To clarify, the Catholic Church strongly supports stem cell research, provided it does not include destruction of any human embryo. Because the placenta, umbilical cord and cord blood are perinatal stem cells, there is no human embryo involved here, because the baby is out already)

3. The bone marrow, eyes, fats, joints, heart and teeth are also rich in stem cells and capable of regeneration. (Kaya pala mabilis mag regenerate ang fat!)

4. Stem cell applications range from experimental therapy with animals to clinical trials to medically accepted standard therapy. Stem cells have been proven to help cure:

- leukemias and lymphomas
- myelodyplastic syndromes
- RBC disroders (thalasssemia, aplastic anemia)
- inherited metabolic disorders
- inherited immunodeficiencies
- solid malignancy (i.e. neuroblastoma)

Stem cell therapies continue to change and evolve quickly.

5. The advantages of cord blood versus other stem cell sources are:

- matching is less stringent
- less incidence of rejection
- no previous exposure of stem cells to drugs, toxins or infections
- pricess and cryopressured shortly after birth, thus not affected by aging
- procedure is painless and non-invasive
- higher harvest of stem cells

6. The baby's cord blood may be used by the entire family: the baby (100%), biological parents (0-50%), biological siblings (0-75%), close relatives (0-20%).

If you would like to find out more about cord blood banking with Cordlife, visit

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