NYSCF Announces New Collaboration to Study Cord Blood

New York Stem Cell Foundation Scientists to Use Stem Cell Technology to Develop Treatments for Diseases, Increase Blood Supply in Collaboration with New York Blood Center, Duke’s Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, National Institutes of Health

NEW YORK, NY (Nov. 2, 2011) – Scientists at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) will use cord blood and stem cell technology to develop treatments for blood-related diseases and to increase the available blood supply for clinical use as part of a new joint venture with the New York Blood Center National Cord Blood Program, Duke’s Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and the National Institutes of Health.

Under the plan, NYSCF scientists will derive induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from cord blood samples provided to it by the other three institutions. The iPS cells, which have the ability to become all types of cells in the body, will be manipulated to become specific types of cells needed to treat devastating blood-related diseases, such as leukemia, and metabolic diseases like Lysosomal storage diseases that affect children.

The NYSCF team will also investigate whether iPS cells can be used to develop quantities of safe blood and blood products that could help meet the demand for blood transfusions in medical emergencies and surgeries.

The New York Blood Center (NYBC) at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center and the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank (CCBB) at Duke University Medical Center represent the nation’s largest public repositories of cord blood samples. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine (NIH CRM) funded by the NIH Common Fund will provide NYSCF with cord blood samples that have been banked with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Cord blood, collected from umbilical cord blood donated by women following a healthy birth, is rich in stem cells. Clinical trials and other approvals would be needed before the iPS cells produced from cord blood could be used to treat disease or become a source of blood for transfusing in patients.

“This joint venture is another example of how we are sharing resources and harnessing the power of stem cells to bring better treatments to patients,” said NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon. “I thank the New York Blood Center, Duke’s Carolinas Blood Bank, and the NIH for their participation in this exciting new collaboration.”

Dr. Pablo Rubinstein, Program Director of the National Cord Blood Program, said: “We approach this collaboration with the highest enthusiasm. This technology will be of tremendous value to the cord blood banking community.”

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank and Chief Scientific Officer for the Cellular and Translational Therapies Program at Duke, said: “I am extremely excited about this collaboration and feel that it will lead to the discovery of innovative and important new therapies in the clinic.”

Dr. Mahendra Rao, Director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Regenerative Medicine, said: “We look forward to joining with NYSCF, NYBC and CCBB to advance this clinical and translational work forward.”

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