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New mothers who give birth at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center now have the option of banking their newborn’s cord blood.

CORD:USE and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center announced their partnership Tuesday at a lecture about the uses and benefits of cord blood.

“This is an exciting day for the Scottsdale community,” said Edward Guindi, M.D., the president of CORD:USE.

The new partnership will allow for mothers at full term to walk into the Shea Medical Center and decide to donate their baby’s cord blood anonymously, said Polly Hrenchir, the clinical director of Women’s Services at the Shea Medical Center. New mothers can also choose to privately bank their baby’s cord blood with CORD:USE.

Cord blood is the blood in the umbilical cord and placenta that is removed following the birth of a baby. Traditionally about 95% of the cord blood was thrown away as medical waste, said Kathy Priester, R.N., at Shea Medical Center.

Harvesting the cord blood does not harm the mother or the newborn child. Cord blood has been found to be rich in stem cells that have the ability to replicate and develop new cells. A cord-blood transplant is when the blood is injected into a patient that is a match for that particular blood type.

Cord-blood transplants are known to have more than 70 clinical applications and have been helpful in curing Leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other blood diseases. There are also clinical trials going on now for other diseases that could be cured with cord blood such as Type I Diabetes and Cerebral Palsy.

CORD:USE brought with them a team of five including Hal E. Broxmeyer, Ph.D., the founder of the field of cord-blood banking and transplant. Matthew Farrow, the first successful cord blood transplant patient, also is a part of CORD:USE’s team.

Farrow was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease, Fanconi Anemia, as a young child. His was only expected to live until he was 7 years old, unless he got a bone marrow transplant. His parents learned that they had the option of trying a new procedure, a cord-blood transplant.

His parents left the decision to Farrow. and he said he wanted to help kids like him. He got the transplant and it was successful. Farrow just recently had his 30th birthday and celebrated with his wife and his son. He now is a spokesperson for CORD:USE.

John Pope, M.D., the director of Pediatric Services and the medical director of the Shea Campus, believes that this new partnership will benefit the patients and the community because banking will now be offered bedside.

Cord-blood donations have previously been “a relatively well kept secret,” said Guindi, who hopes the new partnership brings more awareness to cord-blood banking both privately and publicly.

The partnership between CORD:USE and Scottsdale Healthcare is planning on extending to the Osborn Medical center in the next six months.

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