The value of blood remaining in the umbilical cord after the birth of a baby is now officially recognized by the international medical community and confirmed by over 40,000 transplants of the hematopoietic stem cells, isolated from this biomaterial for the treatment of diseases. However, tons of umbilical cord blood are disposed of annually in the world along with other medical waste, and this is not only caused by the high cost of stem cell cryopreservation, but also by the banal ignorance that this blood can save lives. This is why November 15 is World Cord Blood Day.
The purpose of World Cord Blood Day is to raise awareness among future parents, physicians, NGOs, and the government of all countries about the possibilities of long-term storage and clinical use of cord blood and its preparations.
Today, in medicine, cord blood is used in the following aspects:
- Hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell transplants
- Cultured hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells
- Plasma preparations (“artificial tear”, etc.)
- T lymphocytes (for the destruction of malignant cells)
- platelet gel (for the treatment of wounds)
- to obtain iPS cells
And scientists continue to discover new, previously unknown, curative properties of cord blood.
The Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy supports World Cord Blood Day and offers to recall major events in the history of the use of this valuable substrate in medical practice.
1908, O. Maksimov discovered a hematopoietic stem cell.
1933, in Ukraine M.S. Malinowski performed one of the world’s first cord blood transfusions to compensate blood loss.
1956, Donnal Thomas, the future Nobel Laureate, performed the world’s first successful transplantation of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of leukemia.
1974, Danish scientist S. Knudzon proved that umbilical cord blood contains the same stem cells as the bone marrow.
1970-1980’s, Hal Broxmeyer (USA) proved the suitability of umbilical cord blood for the application in oncohematology instead of the bone marrow.
1984, the first cord blood samples in Europe are preserved in Ukraine.
1988, in Paris (France), prof. Elian Gluckman performed the world’s first cord blood hematopoietic stem cell transplant, a patient Matthew Farrow till now has been enjoying a fulfilling life.
1992, the world’s first cord blood bank was established at the New York Blood Center in the United States.
1999, the journal Science named the discovery of stem cells the third most important one in the history of biology.
2003, the first umbilical cord blood bank at the Institute of Cell Therapy was established in Ukraine.
2006, the European Association for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation officially recognized cord blood as equivalent to bone marrow.
2008, the number of cord blood applications in adults exceeded that in children.
2010, the European Association for Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation confirmed the equivalence of cord blood to bone marrow.
2012, the number of cord blood applications in the world exceeds the number of bone marrow applications.
2013, there are 480 cord blood banks operating in the world.
2014, the number of unrelated cord blood stem cell transplants was 90% of the total number of such operations performed.
2016, more than 3 million umbilical cord blood samples are stored in the world’s biobanks, of which 650,000 are in public and 2.5 million are in family-type banks.
2019, the number of cord blood hematopoietic stem cell transplants has exceeded 40,000.