HEMACORD®, the First FDA-Licensed Stem Cell Product, Nominated for Prix Galien USA "Best Biotechnology Product" Award

Jul 29, 2013, 16:39 ET from New York Blood Center

NEW YORK, July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New York Blood Center's Milstein Cord Blood Program is proud to acknowledge the nomination of its first-in-class hematopoietic stem cell product, HEMACORD® (HPC, Cord Blood) for the 2013 "Best Biotechnology Product" Award by Prix Galien USA.  The award, which will be presented at a ceremony October 22 in New York, will recognize "biomedical products that advance the human condition and which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the past five years," according to the Galien Foundation.  HEMACORD® is among 13 biotech products nominated for this award.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130729/DC54990 )

"Transforming what used to be considered medical waste – the blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord that connected the mother to her newborn child – into a clinically useful, non-controversial, stem cell source was the inspired idea of National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) Director Pablo Rubinstein, M.D.," said New York Blood Center Chairman Howard P. Milstein.  "His visionary leadership over 20-plus years nurtured this innovation into the resource it is today and tens of thousands of lives worldwide have been saved by this breakthrough.  HEMACORD® is the first FDA-licensed stem cell product and his tireless work has a place among game-changing developments in medical research."

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 banking donated umbilical cord blood from healthy births as an off-the-shelf source of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells – alternative to bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell donation. Donated cord blood would deal with 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 (often the case of 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 almost 5,000 cord blood units for transplantation to patients suffering from lethal diseases 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 the first cord blood bank accredited by FACT (the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy) in 2003.

Transplant outcomes provided evidence of the clinical benefit of cord blood transplantation in the treatment of malignant diseases of the blood, immune system and certain inherited metabolic diseases.  Together with NCBP-developed technical procedures and donor-recipient matching facilities, this paved the way for the regulatory recognition of cord blood as a licensable therapeutic agent.

Most mothers at NCBP partner birthing hospitals are happy to donate their placental and umbilical cord stem cells for the public good. In addition to providing stem cells to patients around the world the New York Blood Center, the Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Center and NCBP support the development of cord blood stem cell and cell therapy research.  HEMACORD® will facilitate the future development of cellular therapies that start with an FDA accepted cell source, thus shortening their time to Clinical Trials and medical utilization.

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 (https://tc.placentalblood.org/), 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:  New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers.  For almost 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals since 1964. NYBC currently serves more than 25 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Center including NCBP, the world's largest public cord blood bank.  NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter.  Follow us on Twitter: @NY_BloodCenter. Website:  www.nybloodcenter.org

Contact: Rubenstein Associates
(212) 843-8026

SOURCE New York Blood Center