NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pablo Rubinstein, MD, Co-Founder and Director of the National Cord Blood Program at New York Blood Center, will be honored with the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT)'s 2016 Public Service Award at its annual meeting this weekend.
The Society said Dr. Rubinstein's "life-long contributions to cord blood transplantation have elevated the science of transplantation to where it is today." The Public Service Award recognizes an individual who has advanced the interests of blood and marrow transplantation or given special service to the patients and families served by the organization's membership. "You have been an inspiration to your colleagues the world over," the Society said to Dr. Rubinstein in informing him of the Award.
"Dr. Rubinstein's innovative concept of transforming umbilical cord blood, previously considered medical waste, into a clinically useful, non-controversial source of stem cells has saved tens of thousands of lives worldwide," said NYBC Chairman Howard P. Milstein. "We are very proud that he has made New York Blood Center his professional home for many years, hopefully with many more to come. Pablo is currently leading our effort in regenerative medicine, which holds the promise of repairing or replacing every organ in the human body."
Dr. Rubinstein and his colleagues were also recently recognized with the Prix Galien Award, considered the biomedical industry's highest accolade, for their work to develop HEMACORD®, the first FDA-licensed hematopoietic stem cell product.
"Dr. Rubinstein's work was not only critical in harnessing the power of cord blood as a source of stem cells, his work continues to lead and inspire the entire profession," said NYBC President and CEO Christopher Hillyer, MD. "Dr. Rubinstein's intellect and vision are truly incredible. Twenty years ago he envisioned cord blood becoming a standard, approved, licensed and lifesaving product. He has now added to his focus specialized cord blood stem cells for use in macular degeneration and in hearing loss. The ability to make stem cells from cord blood and potentially restoring sight and hearing are truly remarkable."
More than 20 years ago, Dr. Rubinstein and other scientists at New York Blood Center (NYBC)'s Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute presented the concept of a public cord blood bank to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI/NIH). Their proposal addressed the practical feasibility of publicly banking donated umbilical cord blood from healthy births as an off-the-shelf source of hematopoietic stem cells – an alternative to bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell donation. Donated cord blood addressed the critical need of finding appropriate transplants for patients who had no related or matched bone marrow donors and thus no access to stem cell transplantation (lack of match bone marrow donors is often the case with members of ethnic minorities).
New York Blood Center established NCBP, the first public cord blood bank in 1992, funded by a research and demonstration grant from NIH. Since its inception, NCBP, part of the Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Center, has banked more than 60,000 cord blood units and provided over 5,000 cord blood units for transplantation to patients suffering from lethal diseases. The technology developed by Dr. Rubinstein at NCBP has made lifesaving treatments available to tens of thousands of people worldwide. Since 1996, NCBP has operated under an FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) exemption, the first cord blood bank to receive an IND allowing it to collect, process, test, and store and provide cord blood as a stem cell source for use in experimental clinical transplantation. NCBP was also the first cord blood bank accredited by FACT (the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy) in 2003.
About National Cord Blood Program (NCBP)
Launched in 1992, New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program (www.ncbp.us) at Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Center was the first umbilical cord blood bank established to collect, process, test and store cord blood units and make them available for transplantation to any patients in need of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The NCBP has provided almost 5,000 cord blood units for transplantation worldwide since its inception and, as a public cord blood bank, accepts requests from Transplant Centers and Registries worldwide. All NCBP Cord blood units can be accessed and searched directly through NCBP's Web Search, through Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW), the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and by calling 718-752-4710 or 866-767-6227.
About New York Blood Center (NYBC)
Now more than 50 years old, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the country. Each year, NYBC provides approximately one million blood products to nearly 200 hospitals in the Northeast. In addition, NYBC's Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City (CBC) serves hospitals in the Kansas City metropolitan area, as well as eastern Kansas and western Missouri. CBC provides nearly 200,000 blood products per year to approximately 70 area hospitals.
NYBC also provides a wide array of transfusion-related medical services. NYBC is also home to the world's largest public cord blood bank, which provides stem cells for transplant in many countries, and a renowned research institute, which – among other milestones – developed the Hepatitis B vaccine and innovative blood purification technology.
SOURCE New York Blood Center