NEW YORK, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In what is one of the most significant developments in the company's history, Americord Registry, a leader in the advancement of umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and placenta tissue banking, has added the esteemed and highly influential Dr. Richard Waldman, M.D. to its medical advisory board. Dr. Waldman, a highly respected obstetrician and former President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is the highest profile OB-GYN to date to join a private cord blood bank such as Americord. Private cord blood banks preserve stem cells from newborn babies' cord blood for their own or their families' use. Despite a growing body of evidence of the benefits of stem cell-based medical therapies, many people in the medical community have been hesitant to recommend private cord blood banking to their patients.
"Private cord blood banking offers this generation of children the opportunity to take advantage of cutting edge stem cell-based medical treatments," said Dr. Waldman. "I am looking forward to working with Americord in their efforts to advance the development of more effective cord blood banking products and to continue to bring comprehensive information about cord blood banking to parents-to-be and their OBGYNs."
Since 1988, when a stem cell treatment was used successfully for the first time to cure a 6-year-old boy of a genetic blood disorder called Fanconi's Anemia, the use of stem cell therapies has grown significantly. Stem cells are now used to treat thousands of patients every year in over 60 countries with conditions ranging from cancers and blood and immune disorders to metabolic diseases. Currently, over 80 diseases can be treated with stem cell therapies, and the number is growing. However, the number of parents who privately bank their baby's stem cells is low. According to cord blood industry experts, only 5% of parents in the United States privately bank stem cells from their baby's umbilical cord blood. In New York the rate is also low, but significantly higher at 10%.
One reason that so few parents-to-be privately bank their baby's stem cells is the hesitancy of many in the medical community to advocate for it. Among the medical community's concerns are the historically high cost of private cord blood banking and the fact that while the medical uses of cord blood stem cells are growing, the odds of actually using them is still relatively low. Many OB-GYNs appear reluctant to recommend that parents-to-be incur such a significant expense when the likelihood that their baby will be born with or will contract a disease that can be treated with stem cells is statistically low.
Dr.Waldman's decision to join Americord Registry's Advisory Board was influenced by Americord's approach to both of these critical issues – the cost of private cord blood banking and the usefulness of privately banked stem cells.
In fact, his involvement with the company began in 2012, when a respected professional acquaintance, Dr. Robert Dracker, who is Americord's Executive Medical Director, approached him to assist in the development of CordAdvantage. CordAdvantage is Americord's proprietary patent-pending process that uses an FDA-approved drug to harvest significantly more stem cells from placental cord blood than has previously been possible. It represents a major advance in cord blood banking because it addresses a specific limitation in the usefulness of stem cells, the fact that patients over approximately 65 pounds require a larger volume of stem cells than is, on average, available from umbilical cord blood alone. As a practicing OB-GYN at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York, Dr. Waldman has been participating in the development of CordAdvantage. As a member of Americord's Advisory Board he will continue to work with Dr. Dracker to launch CordAdvantage in 2013. Dr. Dracker, one of the pioneers of the cord blood banking industry, was an architect of the New York cord blood banking licensing requirements, and is a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Pediatric Advisory Committee.
Dr. Waldman was also impressed by Americord's success at offering the highest quality cord blood banking products and services at dramatically lower prices than other leading cord blood banks (approximately 50% lower). As a practicing OB-GYN for over 35 years, and a respected advocate for best practices in women's health care, especially around pregnancy and childbirth, Dr. Waldman supports Americord's efforts to make private cord blood banking affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.
"We are delighted and proud to welcome Dr. Waldman to Americord Registry's Advisory Board," said Americord CEO Martin Smithmyer. "As a thought-leader in the field of obstetrics and a trusted voice among OB-GYNs and patients he will be an invaluable resource as our company pursues important advances in cord blood banking." The announcement of Dr. Waldman's appointment to Americord's Advisory Board comes amongst a windfall of exciting news about stem cell therapy, including recent advances in research about using cord blood stem cells for the treatment of Cerebral Palsy, diabetes, and certain types of brain injury.
About Dr. Richard Waldman
Dr. Waldman, a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is the past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a premiere private not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women's health care through continuing medical education, practice, and research. Since 1976, he has been a practicing OB-GYN at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York, where he was previously Chairman for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is currently a Member of the Board of Trustees. He is also currently the President of Associates for Women's Medicine, an obstetric and gynecologic practice in central New York. Dr. Waldman has been an advocate for women's healthcare issues as related to pregnancy and childbirth for over 30 years and is known for having established the first hospital-based midwifery practice in Central New York. He has lectured extensively on pregnancy and childbirth across the United States and has published numerous articles in leading medical journals. He has also served on dozens of boards, committees, and task forces focused on obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Waldman received his medical degree from the New Jersey College of Medicine in 1972, and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York in 1976.
About Americord Registry
Americord Registry is a leader in the advancement of umbilical cord blood banking, umbilical cord tissue banking and placenta 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. Founded in 2008, Americord is registered with the FDA and operates in all 50 states. The company's laboratory is CLIA certified, accredited by the AABB and complies with all federal and state guidelines and applicable licenses. Americord is headquartered in New York, NY. You may visit Americord Registry's website at www.cordadvantage.com for more information. You may also find Americord Registry on Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.
SOURCE Americord Registry