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Chairperson's Statement


Fellow Governors, Members and Friends of the APCBBC,

The APCBBC is pleased to announce the publication of the paper “ Safety and feasibility of autologous umbilical cord blood transfusion in 2 toddlers with cerebral palsy and the role of low dose granulocyte-colony stimulating factor injections” published in the Journal of Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience in 2011. This publication was the work of cord blood stem cell organizations in two countries, Thailand and Malaysia and follows on the back of a recent publication in 2010 by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University. She established that the infusion of cord blood stem cells was safe and feasible in the 184 children she had treated for neurologic injuries over five years. The 2011 report is significant in that this is the first report of its kind to include the possible and potential role of cord blood to not only be safe but to demonstrate a level of efficacy in alleviating symptoms in children affected by CP.

Trials are also being actively supported by our members in Taiwan, Korea, India and Singapore, and we look forward to gathering the various data points which will assist us in evaluating how soon treatment can be administered and whether there is a role for combinatorial methods with the use of other factors to stimulate neural tissue regeneration.

This year, the APCBBC members came together again in Pune, India to discuss the increasing areas of service and application, patient expectations and potential for cord blood stem cells to support tissue engineering. Will stored cord blood stem cells contribute to the construction of blood vessels for bypass (replacing vessel stripping techniques) or be used to build hearts, skin, liver and nerves? We are also extremely privileged to be the first visitors to the newly constructed StemOne Biologicals facility in Pune.

We thank this year’s country host StemOne for putting together a wonderful program and setting the scene for a wonderful cultural experience and important agenda for the 2011 APCBBC Annual Meeting in India.

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Fellow Governors, Members and Friends of the APCBBC,

The next momentous phase of advances in autologous cord blood stem cell applications will be in the fields of neurological trauma and vascular ischemic injury. While collection of sufficient clinical data to promote widespread medical (and insurance) adoption is still years away, more and more studies around the world on human trials are providing very encouraging results. The excitement being generated from a trial at Duke University to treat children with Cerebral Palsy (“CP”) using their own cord blood is palpable and we also eagerly await confirmation of initial observations from StemLife on four toddlers treated with autologous cord blood infusion and low dose GCSF. While we await release of formal data from the Duke University study hopefully in 2011, the implications could be profound. Will collection of umbilical cord blood for re-infusion become the “gold standard” of treatment for babies born with CP? What impact will this have on the operation of public and private banking facilities? How will this push forward studies in ancillary therapeutic areas such as treatment of adult ischemia and stroke and traumatic neural injuries?

The first transplant using umbilical cord blood was conducted 21 years ago in Paris. By the year 2000 approximately 10 routine therapies were known. Today the number of routine therapies has increased to over 80, primarily covering blood related mutations, inherited conditions, autoimmune diseases and as far reaching as bone marrow rescue in solid cancer treatment. Given the numerous encouraging results in trials to treat cellular injury, how many conditions will be routinely treated with umbilical cord stem cells in the year 2020? - Probably several multiples of those being treated today. These advances will have profound effects on the roles of public and private banks and it is our responsibility to stay at the forefront of discussions and developments in policy, ethics and appropriate business models.

Our role as a source of reliable and responsible knowledge to parents, doctors, regulators and company stake-holders will become increasingly critical. How will we meet this challenge and ensure that standards of quality in terms of “delivery of message” are maintained?

This year, APCBBC members come together again in Hong Kong to discuss the potential of non-haematological applications of umbilical cord stem cells. The theme of the APCBBC for 2010 to 2012 is aimed at evaluating present and future clinical uses of cord blood stem cells. This year, the APCBBC is proud to host Dr. Wise Young who will be presenting the randomized clinical trial of cord blood stem cells in spinal cord injury patients conducted in neighboring China. Hong Kong researchers, Dr. Janette Kwok and Dr. Kent Tsang will be presenting their work on the importance of HLA typing and animal stroke models amenable to stem cell therapy respectively.

We thank this year’s country host Cryolife for setting the scene and the important agenda for our 2010 APCBBC Annual Meeting in Hong Kong.

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