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New Member Spotlight: Americord Registry

“Families have banked cord blood as well as cord and placental tissue with Americord Registry as an insurance policy on the promise of Regenerative Medicine in the future,” said Andrew L’Huiller, Director of Product Development at Americord Registry.

Operating for over 10 years, Americord Registry is a leader in the advancement of umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and placental tissue banking. Americord collects, processes, and stores newborn stem cells from umbilical cord blood for future medical or therapeutic use, including the treatment of more than 80 blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia and leukemia. Experimental treatments using stem cells are the subject of research for diseases and conditions including Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke recovery.

Cord blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following a baby’s birth and is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), currently used to treat over 80 blood- and bone-related diseases. Cord tissue and placental tissue both contain mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can transform into many different kinds of cells, including organ, muscle, bone, and cartilage cells. While MSCs are not currently being used for treatment, they are being investigated in over fifty clinical trials worldwide as it is thought that someday they may treat a huge array of diseases. Using a proprietary technique, Americord extracts MSCs from the placenta that are a genetic match to the mother and may someday be used therapeutically.

“We see ARMI putting together the pieces of a very complex puzzle which will help the general public not only with incredible long-term treatments for many diseases; but also as a harbinger to increase the awareness of what is real, what is feasible, and guide us through the timeline of when to expect the next breakthrough,” L’Huiller noted, “With over 80 diseases now approved for stem cell therapies by the FDA, we feel there are many more on the horizon with the promise of Regenerative Medicine (RM) coming of age soon.”

Founded in 2008, and headquartered in New York City, NY, Americord is registered with the FDA and operates in all 50 states. The company’s laboratory is accredited by the AABB and complies with all federal and state guidelines and applicable licenses. 

Who banks stem cells now?

“Saving stem cells is a prudent choice if you or your spouse/partner have a family history of a disease that is treatable with stem cells, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma,” he said.

 

Ethnic minorities and families of mixed ethnicity save stem cells because these groups have greater difficulty finding stem cell donors when needed. Families preparing to adopt a newborn also consider saving stem cells since, if they are ever needed, the cord blood and placental stem cells may be the only available genetic source of stem cells for the adopted baby. Finally, couples using fertility treatments that involve a donor egg and/or sperm also consider saving stem cells because this may be the only opportunity to secure a genetically related sample of stem cells for their child.

“The focus of regenerative medicine portrayed by the media tends to either be overly hyped, or overly focused on the failures of individuals and specific companies rather than on the merits of the science itself,” noted L’Huiller, “Now with ARMI members’ help, we can set the record straight.” 

“Americord joined ARMI to engage in what the future holds and to bring our expertise in collecting, processing and storing to its members. We have extensive expertise in this field which is becoming ever more important to the future of RM."

“Americord also wants to expand as the RM industry expands. We now exclusively provide stem cell banking to families, but the future could see us expand into new areas as the field continues to advance.”

L’Huiller feels that within 10 years the FDA will approve treatments built on using one’s own stem cells; patients will get help from their own cells such as for tissues and bone; but in 20-30 years there is the possibility that the FDA will approve ‘off the shelf’ tissues and organs.

Americord is confident that ARMI will be an important voice to bring expertise to the FDA helping regulation going forward. To learn more about Americord, visit their site here!