Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Family Childbirth & Children’s Center, and 3-time Cancer Survivor Nathan Mumford Discuss Benefits of Cord Blood Donation to Help Save Lives
On Thursday, August 4th, 2016, The Save the Cord Foundation visited Baltimore with 3-time cancer survivor, Nathan Mumford, to spotlight the wonderful opportunity expectant mothers have to donate umbilical cord blood. Mercy Medical Center has an active public cord blood donation program where expectant mothers’ can give life twice and donate their newborn’s cord blood to save a life.
Similar to bone marrow, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat and/or cure over 80 life threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Cord Blood stem cells are used much like a bone marrow stem cells to rebuild a diseased immune system. Cord blood is much easier to match than bone marrow and has a significantly lower risk of Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD). Yet, unfortunately, cord blood is thrown out 97% of the time as medical waste when a baby is born.
“Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell disease that can be treated with the stem cells extracted from blood extracted from the umbilical cord of newborns. Doctors can match cord blood to a patient and then transplant it to potentially save a life,” said Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy’s Family Childbirth & Children’s Center.
Dr. Atlas and Mr. Nathan Mumford, whose life was saved thanks to a cord blood transplant, addressed the question of cord blood, its uses and collection, with Mercy physicians at the hospital’s morning grand rounds, and then were available for interview by media.
Currently, individuals of minority and blended ethnicities are dramatically under-represented on worldwide public registries for bone marrow/cord blood. Yet, over 40% of all individuals who need a transplant are of blended or minority ethnicity. Collecting cord blood from newborn’s of minority or blended ethnicity raises the chances that we can help facilitate more transplants.
In fact, cord blood donation is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Cord blood donation should be encouraged when the cord blood is stored in a bank for public use.” (source: Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation, Jan 2007, Vol 119 / Issue 1).
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.
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