September 13-15, 2019, Cord Blood Connect-2019, an international cord blood congress, was held in Miami (USA). This major event in the field of cord blood biobanking and clinical use brought together about 350 delegates from 28 countries (USA, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vietnam and etc.).
The Congress was organized by the Cord Blood Association, with the active support of the World Marrow Donor Association, the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, the American Association of Tissue Banks, the European School of Haematology, the Regenerative Medicine Foundation, the Perinatal Stem Cell Society, and many others.
Congress was opened by Professor Hematologist Elian Gluckman, who in 1988 performed the world’s first cord blood transplant to a child with Fanconi anemia. Elian Gluckman delivered a lecture “Lessons from the Past”, that summarized more than 30 years of successful clinical use of cord blood. Matthew Ferrow, now a healthy man, attended the congress, and 31 years ago, he was the world’s first patient to have an umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant.
Within the framework of the Congress, the Cord Blood Association has awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for advances in the study of cord blood to one more leading figure of the industry, Professor Hal Broxmeyer. It is the results of Dr. Broxmeyer’s research in the far 70-80s of the 20th century that found that cord blood could be an alternative to bone marrow for the treatment of patients who have been indicated hematopoietic stem cells transplant.
Other important reports were devoted to the latest approaches to the use of umbilical cord blood in practical medicine in children and adults, as well as relevant aspects of organizing the work of biobanks. Considerable attention was paid to the quality of cord blood stem cell transplants, their proper screening before clinical use, and transportation to clinical centers.
In addition to the well-known preparations derived from umbilical cord blood (hematopoietic stem cell transplants, umbilical cord T-lymphocytes, platelet gel or artificial tear), a new drug that contains umbilical cord blood macrophages was presented by the scientists of the Duke University (USA). This drug is promising for the treatment of genetically determined diseases of metabolism.
One recent study has shown the negative effect of caffeine and secondhand smoke of the pegnant woman on the quality of cord blood stem cells.
Within the framework of the congress, thematic workshops and training of inspectors of the cord blood biobanking industry were held.
The first and only ISO-accredited Cryobank of Ukraine, operating since 2003 at the Institute of Cell Therapy, provides expectant parents with services of cryopreservation of cord blood, placenta and umbilical cord in accordance with international standards. Since 2008, Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy within the framework of clinical research under the auspices of the Coordination Center for Transplantation of Organs, Cells and Tissues of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine provides cell and tissue preparations to leading state medical centers of the country.