Cord Blood Breakthroughs Coming at Rapid Pace: BioBridge Global Subsidiary GenCure Contributing to Growth of Research into Life-Changing Therapies

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Umbilical cord blood has so many medical uses, scientists are starting to find them by accident. The latest news comes as the nation and companies like GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBrodge Global, marks Cord Blood Awareness Month.

A laboratory scientist with the GenCure Cord Blood Center.

A laboratory scientist with the GenCure Cord Blood Center.

“Umbilical cord blood and its stem cells have a proven value to medicine, with the promise of cures and treatments for more and more diseases every day.” Mary Ellen Mooney, director of Cord Blood Operations for GenCure

Umbilical cord blood has so many medical uses, scientists are starting to find them by accident.

In a recent case, researchers looking into a disease related to skin grafts identified a part of umbilical cord blood that can lower inflammation and immune disorders caused by those grafts.

At the same time, they found those same proteins, called soluble NKG2D ligands, could be used to treat similar conditions that affect the skin, including eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and perhaps even alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.

The discovery, reported in the latest edition of the European Journal of Immunology, comes as the United States marks National Cord Blood Awareness Month in July.

Umbilical cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord after the birth of a child. The stem cells from that cord blood have been used for therapy for more than 20 years. Today, they are used as a treatment for 80 conditions, from blood diseases and cancers, to immune and metabolic disorders.

Since 1988, there have been more than 30,000 cord blood transplants performed around the world.

Today, researchers are looking at cord blood for treatment of even more conditions, including cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, type 2 diabetes, as well as inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

The GenCure Cord Blood Center serves as a public cord blood bank and a partner in that research. GenCure also houses the Texas Cord Blood Bank (TCBB), a statewide repository of cord blood made up of donations from new mothers, made at hospitals across the state.

“Umbilical cord blood and its stem cells have a proven value to medicine, with the promise of cures and treatments for more and more diseases every day,” said Mary Ellen Mooney, director of Cord Blood Operations for GenCure. “We’re proud to be contributing to both life-saving therapies and important research.”

New mothers can donate cord blood to the Texas Cord Blood Bank by simply filling out a form before their deliveries at participating hospitals. The cord blood, which previously had been discarded, is collected, tested and stored.

All units stored in the Texas Cord Blood Bank are listed on a national marrow donor registry and are accessible worldwide for patients in need of a transplant. TCBB has more than 15,000 units of cord blood in storage and has distributed more than 300 units for transplant – 60 in 2014 alone.

TCBB has sent units not only across the country, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to the Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., but all over the world, including Chile, Belgium, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, France and Australia.

The TCBB is one of just a handful of cord blood banks accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks and the only one in Texas and four adjacent states.

About GenCure: GenCure, a Texas nonprofit corporation, focuses on regenerative medicine and uses the power of human cells and tissues to inspire hope, enhance lives and enable clinical advancements. Using processed tissue and cell-based therapies, GenCure works to connect health care requirements with innovative solutions that best serve the needs of the global patient community. Visit us at http://www.gencure.org.

About BioBridge Global: BioBridge Global (BBG) is a San Antonio, Texas-based nonprofit corporation that offers diverse services through its subsidiaries – the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, QualTex Laboratories, GenCure and the Blood & Tissue Center Foundation. BBG provides products and services in blood resource management, cellular therapy, donated umbilical cord blood and human tissue as well as testing of blood, plasma and tissue products for clients in the United States and worldwide. BBG is rooted in the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, which has a proud history of serving the South Texas region and beyond for more than 40 years. BBG is committed to supporting groundbreaking research, addressing unmet clinical needs and enabling the development and commercialization of novel biotechnology products. Visit us at http://www.biobridgeglobal.org.

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