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Recent News at the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas
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CBBA Receives Its First Cord Blood Donation
We’ve officially begun operations here at the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas! The bank received its first donation of cord blood to the public side of The Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas, which took place on April 13, 2011 at UAMS. Keep checking back for more exciting CBBA news!
Statewide Cord Blood Collections Beginning April 1st, 2011
The Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas and Dr. Michele Fox were featured in this recent article on ArkansasOnline.com:
Cord-blood effort near State network to start storing cells next month
By: Evie Blad
LITTLE ROCK — A statewide network will begin collecting umbilical cord blood April 1, sending the cells to a Florida facility until the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences opens a permanent bank in July.
The Arkansas Cord Blood Bank, the first statewide storage network for umbilical stem cells in the country, will collect cord blood from women around the state who want to contribute it to a free public donation network or pay to store it for potential future use by family members.
Cord blood – blood collected from the umbilical cords of consenting mothers of newly delivered, healthy babies – contains potentially life-saving stem cells used in the treatments of diseases such as cancer. The Arkansas Newborn Umbilical Cord Blood Initiative Commission on Thursday approved a $250,000 contract with Florida-based Lifeforce Cryobanks to oversee creation of the bank in Little Rock, train UAMS workers to collect and ship cord blood,and store donations collected until the Arkansas site is formally launched this summer.
“No one else in the country has a statewide bank,” said Dr. Michele Fox, director of stem-cell therapy and transfusion medicine at UAMS. “Everyone so far has had local, onsite banks, so it’s a little difficult to predict what the interest will be.”
Arkansas has about 40,000 births a year, and doctors and researchers expect the state to contribute significantly to the public supply. Fox, the medical director for the bank, fields weekly calls from pregnant women hoping the bank will be open in time to store cord blood after their babies are delivered. Arkansas currently has no facility to collect or store umbilical cord blood, Fox said. UAMS researchers now primarily focus on using adult stem cells.
Umbilical-cord-blood stem cells – an alternative to contentious embryonic stem cells – are used in medical research and to treat some patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, and blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia. Some scientists believe the cells may one day be used to repair spinal-cord injuries and regenerate organ tissue, such as brain cells after a stroke, the heart muscle after a heart attack, the pancreas for diabetics and the liver for hepatitis patients.
Dr. Curtis Lowery, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UAMS, said most obstetricians have not recommended costly private cord-blood storage for patients unless their families have a history of cancer-related illness. But demand for the stem cells in cord blood could increase as researchers find new uses for them, he said.
“This stuff is real,” Lowery said. “It’s tangible, and it is expanding.”
Cells collected for public use are stored and connected to a network that finds potential matches for patients who could use them in treatment. Under the contract approved Thursday, cord blood collected for private use before July will be shipped to the Florida facility for storage until the Arkansas bank is opened. Blood donated for public use will remain at the Florida facility, and UAMS will collect a fee from recipients if it is used in future medical treatments. The contract is awaiting approval from the Arkansas Legislature at a
March 15 hearing. Lowery will work with UAMS faculty and obstetricians throughout the state, instructing in cord-blood collection in advance of the bank’s opening, he said.
Gov. Mike Beebe in 2007 signed into law the creation of a commission to oversee the state’s umbilical-cord blood bank. An anonymous foundation awarded the bank a $250,000 grant, matched through private contributions, and the legislation provided about $180,000 in one-time funding. The bank’s ongoing budget will be provided through optional donations on state income-tax forms, private storage fees and further contributions.
CBBA Featured on KARK 4 News
On January 20th, 2011 the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas was featured on KARK 4 news in Little Rock. The report highlighted the benefits of cord blood research and also promoted the opening of the CBBA in the coming months. Click here to check out the video on the KARK 4 webpage and check back here for more details soon!
Local Artists Support the CBBA
On Saturday, May 1st, the band A Good Fight held a special concert at George’s Majestic Lounge in Hot Springs to release the band’s first full-length, self-titled album. Partial proceeds from the release party benefited the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas. State Representative Jon Woods, a major advocate of the CBBA, is a band member.
Party hosted by Chip and Cindy Murphy
Recently, a cocktail reception hosted by Chip and Cindy Murphy was held to share more information about The Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas and its mission. The event was held at 14 Edgehill Road and featured UAMS Chancellor Dr. Daniel Rahn and his wife, Lana. Click the picture to view more from the event.
Even more pictures from the event are posted on Flickr Here
Grand Opening of CBBA Website!
Welcome to the brand new website for the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas (CBBA). Until now, the only information about us was here on the UAMS website. Thanks to a partnership with the IT Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, we now have our own fully functional site! Check back often for updates.