Thanks to a non-invasive collection method, sans political and ethical debate, new parents have the option of obtaining, processing and storing stem cells from their newborn's umbilical cord.
And the Hebron, Northern Kentucky-based ViaCord Processing Laboratory is playing a crucial role in this potentially lifesaving process.
ViaCord keeps stem cells, taken from umbilical cord blood, safely stowed away for years on end.
This could come in handy should the individual from whom the cells were taken, or any of their kin, need a guaranteed or near-guaranteed match, respectively, for a host of potentially life-saving treatments.
"Our new lab expansion provides us with the most state-of-the-art cryopreservation and storage facility possible. Continually re-investing in our lab is how ViaCord maintains its commitment to offer the highest-quality standard in cord blood cryopreservation and storage," said ViaCord Processing Laboratory Vice President, Karen Foster.
At present stem cells are being used to treat more than 70 serious diseases and are being used to research how to tackle widespread conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
"Our processing lab is very focused: we receive, process, test and store umbilical cord blood units, and we ship units upon request for transplantation," Foster explains.
Stem cells are essentially the fundamental building blocks of our blood and immune systems. This baseline quality allows them to be transformed into just about anything needed, such as bone marrow for someone suffering from leukemia.
ViaCord is a leader in this effort.
With a corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ViaCord's Processing Laboratory was placed in the greater Cincinnati area for key strategic reasons: central location, proximity to an international hub airport – which allows for smooth transportation of cord blood samples – and the region's low incidence of natural disasters.
There are also on-site backup systems and advanced security systems, further bolstering the facility's defenses.
"We're constantly on the lookout for any new technology or development that can help us support our lab's purpose. Right now, we're implementing some of the latest technology available. For example, our environmental controls will be upgraded to deliver a state-of-the-art reporting capability to our Quality Assurance team and our alarm systems that monitor temperature and environment are being upgraded to provide the most advanced, secure, data storage available," said Foster.
To protect the blood itself, ViaCord's storage lab uses the same top notch cryopreservation freezers used by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross.
In other words, ViaCord's Hebron facility is a safe place to bank a toddler's cord blood.
With official stamps of approval from the American Association of Blood Banks, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and the US Food and Drug Administration, and experience processing and storing over 170,000 units of cord blood, ViaCord's processing and storage lab is a sure bet for keeping stem cells on file.
To learn more about ViaCord's cord blood collection, processing and storage services, including costs, visit here