Substances formed by the body in response to the presence of antigen/allergen.


The treatment of cancer by chemicals and/or drugs.


Freezing at a very low temperature, such as in liquid nitrogen (-196°C), to keep stem cells, sperm and/or embryos viable to store them for future use.


When stem cells colonize in the marrow space of the host and begin to divide and replicate.

Graft-vs-host disease

Condition in which a donor’s T cells attack the recipient’s cells.

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)

Antigens expressed on the surface of leukocytes and most body cells which are determinants of graft rejection and are used for typing tissues of donor and recipient.

Radiation therapy

Cancer treatment using x-rays or other types of irradiation.

Stem Cells

Progenitor cells or the production units in the human body which produce all other blood cells – red cells that carry oxygen, white cells that fight disease and platelets that help clot blood. Stem cells are also referred to as HPC, or Hematopoietic progenitor cells.

Cord Blood Storage and Donation

How Long Has Science Known About Human Cord Blood?

France, 1988 – A team of doctors, including Dr. Eliane Gluckman, a member of the Cryobanks International S.A.M.B.A. performed the first human cord blood transplant into a child with Fanconi Anemia successfully. In 1991, a transplant was successfully performed on a child with chronic myelogenous leukemia. These initial accomplishments opened doors to use cord blood for situations where traditional bone marrow was routinely utilized.

Since then, over 2,000 cord blood transplants have been performed. Cord blood has been used to treat malignancies such as Leukemias, Lymphomas (Hodgkin’s Disease), Neuroblastoma, (Brain Tumor) and non-malignancies such as Sickle Cell Anemia, XLP Disease, SCIDS (Bubble-Boy Disease), Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, Beta-Thalessemia, Hunter’s Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia, and Aplastic Anemia.

How Are Stem Cells Obtained from the Placenta?

After the birth of the baby the umbilical cord is clamped and separated from the baby. The blood is obtained painlessly and risk free by inserting a needle into the umbilical vein after cleansing the umbilical cord. The blood drains into a regular blood collection bag by gravity. The procedure is non-invasive and painless, unlike bone marrow donations which require general anesthesia and a recovery period. The sample is then transported to Cryobanks International where laboratory technicians process and store the cord blood stem cells in liquid nitrogen.

What Happens Once the Blood is Drawn?

Once the attending physician or nurse/midwife has completed the collection process, the sample is either picked up by Cryobanks International, Inc. (if in an area where a Cryobanks International, Inc. facility is located) or sent to Cryobanks International in Altamonte Springs, Florida via pre-arranged express return shipment. Cryobanks International, Inc.’s cord blood collection kit includes complete directions for shipping specimens. The specimens are delivered and then processed as close to 24 hours after collection as possible.

Once at Cryobanks International’s laboratory, technicians process and freeze the specimen in liquid nitrogen (-196° C). Cryobanks International, Inc., uses state-of-the-art storage systems with continuous monitoring and maintenance of the nitrogen level, to insure the integrity of your cord blood specimen.

Why Cord Blood Instead of Bone Marrow?

Retrieval of human cord blood is non-invasive and painless to both the mother and child. Bone marrow retrieval is invasive and can be very painful, causing a shortage of donors. Cord blood is much easier to match to the recipient because it is more readily available and a less perfect match is acceptable because cord blood is more pure in terms of H.L.A. matching. The National Bone Marrow Donor Program estimates that the current probability for a non-related bone marrow match is between 50-60% for Caucasians. Since 90% of the volunteers listed in the program at the National Marrow Donor Program are Caucasians probabilities are lower for non-Caucasians.

One of the most common and life threatening side effects of a bone marrow transplant is Graft versus Host Disease (G.V.H.D.). G.V.H.D. is the result of lymphocytes present in all grafts (whether bone marrow or cord blood) attacking the recipient. It is estimated that serious G.V.H.D. occurs in approximately 60% of all unrelated bone marrow transplants. Cord blood transplants to date have been notable in the lack of serious G.V.H.D. in both the sibling and unrelated transplant setting (approximately 10%). Thus, cord blood transplant patients may have a higher survival rate, a higher quality of life, and less frequent rehospitalization due to transplant complications. These factors can contribute to making the overall cost of cord blood transplants less expensive.

What is Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD)?

G.V.H.D. is one of the most common and life threatening side affects of a bone marrow transplant. It is the result of lymphocytes present in all grafts (cord blood as well) attacking the recipient. This reduces the survival rate of the patient to less than 50% at two years post transplant. Cord blood transplants have been noticeable in the lack of serious G.V.H.D. in both sibling and unrelated transplants – less than 10%.

What is the Future of Cord Blood?

The uses for human cord blood seem endless. It has been postulated that cord blood stem cells may be used for gene therapy to treat diseases such as AIDS in the future. Cord blood also shows promise for the treatment of metastic cancer through gene therapy whereby defective genes are replaced with functional genes for diseases such Sickle Cell Anemia and Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Syndrome (SCIDS).