NEW YORK, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Gathering together some of the world's most prominent researchers in the field of cord blood biology, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) hosted the "Second Milstein Symposium: Perspectives in Cord Blood Biology and Clinical Applications" at NYBC's Murray Sargent Auditorium.
Tuesday's day-long symposium, attended by more than 200 doctors, scientists and others in the medical community, presented research and information on cutting edge issues related to umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation.
The symposium – and an opening reception on April 9th at the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History, hosted by NYBC Chairman Howard P. Milstein – also celebrated the FDA's recent approval of HEMACORD™, a cellular therapy product developed and manufactured by the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center. Approved by the FDA in November, 2011, HEMACORD™ is the first FDA-licensed hematopoietic progenitor cells-cord (HPC-C) cell therapy. HEMACORD™ uses cord blood stem cells to treat certain disorders of the hematopoietic, or blood forming, system. Research is currently underway to examine whether hematopoietic stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood can be used in the treatment of other disorders.
The symposium was opened with remarks from Howard P. Milstein and Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, President and CEO of NYBC.
Mr. Milstein said: "In addition to housing the world's longest standing and largest cord blood bank, NYBC is now home to the only cord blood bank worldwide with products that are FDA-approved for human transplantation. That is an extraordinary achievement."
"This symposium is a testament to the remarkable progress that has culminated with FDA approval of HEMACORD™," Mr. Milstein added.
Dr. Hillyer said, "Working with Dr. Rubinstein has been an unprecedented honor. He, like Howard Milstein, is an unparalleled intellect and visionary with extraordinary perseverance, and combines scientific genius with common sense. These have allowed a research project to become a licensed product – truly a 'bench to bedside success' – which is quite rare."
In 1989, Dr. Rubinstein, Program Director of NYBC's National Cord Blood Bank Program, presented the original concept of public cord blood banking to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. In 1992, he founded the world's first public cord blood program at New York Blood Center, which is still the single largest repository of cord blood units in the world.
Speakers at the symposium presented information relating to the cellular mechanisms of blood cell and autoimmune diseases and their possible control by cord blood stem cell populations. The speakers discussed research concerning whether stem cells derived from cord blood may prove beneficial for gene therapy, thus opening up a wide array of therapeutic applications for treating certain blood cancers and inherited metabolic and immune system disorders.
Distinguished presenters at the symposium included some of the leading physicians and scientists who specialize in cord blood banking, such as:
- Hal E. Broxmeyer, Ph.D. (Indiana University);
- Paul S. Frenette, M.D. (Albert Einstein College of Medicine);
- J. Alejandro Madrigal, M.D., Ph.D. (Anthony Nolan Research Institute);
- Andromachi M. Scaradavou, M.D. (National Cord Blood Program);
- Elizabeth J. Shpall, M.D. (MD Anderson Cancer Center);
- Marcel R. M. van den Brink, M.D., Ph.D. (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center);
- Jon J. van Rood, M.D., Ph.D. (Leiden University); and
- John E. Wagner, M.D. (University of Minnesota).
Stem cells derived from cord blood have been transplanted into tens of thousands of individuals as an alternative to stem cells derived from bone marrow. Only about 4,000 of 14,000 patients each year find a match in the national bone marrow program registry. Cord blood technology has allowed an additional 4,000 patients to find potentially life-saving matches annually. Over the past three decades, there have been more than 30,000 cord blood transplants performed worldwide, 4,600 from Milstein National Cord Blood Program.
Dr. Rubinstein said, "We feel proud and happy to have been able to bring this therapy to the many thousands of patients worldwide who have received, with cord blood transplants, the chance to survive ordinarily lethal diseases."
NYBC has banked over 60,000 cord blood units over the past 15 years, and the organization continues to build its cord blood inventory to ensure that more patients find a match. In order to generate additional funding for cord blood banking, NYBC and the National Cord Blood Program assisted in a lobbying effort to obtain Federal funding. In 2005, this led to Congress' approval of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, which was signed by President Bush.
About New York Blood Center
New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 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 National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, 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.
SOURCE New York Blood Center