A high amount of stem cells may be found in a developing fetus and fetal structures. Once considered to be a medical waste, umbilical cord and placenta were discarded at birth, since there was a lack of knowledge regarding the medical potential and value of these tissues. Umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta represent a valuable source of various types of stem cells that may be used for the successful treatment of serious medical conditions. Stem cell research has grown exponentially in the previous decades since it was recognized by the scientific medical community that stem cells carry a vast therapeutic potential. An area that specifically investigates the nature and medical significance of stem cells is called regenerative medicine. This medical discipline aims to develop new, effective and safe cell-based treatments for various types of chronic, severe and debilitating diseases. Umbilical cord and placenta are enriched with stem cells that represent the basis of research in the regenerative medicine. Therefore, storing stem cells from these sources provides a safe and effective investment for the good overall health of families that practice stem cell banking. AlphaCord offers banking services that cover storage of stem cells from all of the above-mentioned sources.
Stem Cell Sources
Umbilical cord blood contains significant amounts of hematopoietic stem cells that represent a valuable treatment option for severe disorders affecting blood (anemias, leukemias, lymphomas). There have been numerous reports in the scientific medical papers regarding the successful treatment of blood-related disorders with transplantation of stem cells originating from the umbilical cord blood. Collection and storing of umbilical cord blood is a simple and safe process, which allows families to ensure themselves should a need arise for the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Umbilical cord tissue is a source enriched with mesenchymal stem cells used in the everyday practice in the field of regenerative medicine. There are currently clinical trials underway that aim to investigate the full regenerative potential of mesenchymal stem cells. Tissue and organ repair is a key mechanism of action of these cells, where diseases that were only treatable so far, become completely cured. This refers to diabetes, chronic heart and liver failure, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and even autism. In addition to umbilical cord tissue, placental tissue is also a very rich source containing mesenchymal and mesenchymal-like stem cells, which have the same potential as described above.
With AlphaCord, banking of all of the above-mentioned stem cell sources is possible, giving the families an opportunity to store for the potential future use the significant amounts of both hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells.
History and Mission
AlphaCord is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. The mission of this banking facility is to provide the high quality of services to families that want to store stem cells from various sources at an affordable price.
AlphaCord was founded in 2002 by a parent who believed that the banking of stem cells should not be a privilege, but an opportunity for all parents interested in preserving their children’s stem cells. AlphaCord aims to create affordable programs for the collection, processing, and storage of various sources of stem cells while maintaining the quality standards that are fully comparable to the competitor companies. AlphaCord operates in a cost-efficient manner and vigilantly monitors scientific advancements in the field of regenerative medicine. This enabled AlphaCord to be one of the first private banking systems introducing the possibility to bank umbilical cord tissue. AlphaCord is a perfect example that a high quality in each step of stem cells banking may come at an affordable price. AlphaCord is not engaged in the expensive marketing-related activities, which enables this facility to completely focus its’ funds to the process of high-quality preservation and safety of collected samples. The high quality of services for an affordable price allows AlphaCord to be one of the leaders in the industry of stem cells banking. Banking of all sources of stem cells including cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue comes with a guaranty of 85000$ that will be transferred to the Client’s account should any problem with the viability of samples arise.
The collection, Processing, and Storage
AlphaCord uses an FDA approved collection kit with a specific design that allows collection of samples both during the vaginal delivery or cesarean section. The bag allows a collection of 250ccs of sampled tissue. Anti-coagulant used is a CPD, which is strongly recommended by the FDA to be used during the collection process. AlphaCord does not use any heparinized products during the collection of samples. Sterility of the bag is ensured both from the outside and the inside in order to prevent the transmission of an infectious agent. Transportation of each sampled is ensured within the 72 hours after birth. AlphaCord informs the clients that all samples were transported and received by the central laboratory within the above-mentioned timeframe in order to ensure the best possible viability of samples.
Following receipt of the sample, the lab processes each sample by removing the red blood cells and plasma leaving only the component enriched with stem cells. Samples prepared and cooled down to the standard temperature of -190C and cryopreserved into nitrogen vapor tanks for long-term storage.
Clients receive a certificate of preservation that contains the number of stem cells preserved, their viability and testing for infections sources. Each sample is kept in the blood bags. The temperature in the vapor nitrogen tanks is constantly electronically monitored and contains an alarm system that would signal any temperature deviations within the tank. The storage facility is secured and outfitted with backup electric generator system to ensure the maximal safety of the collected samples.
AlphaCord laboratory is licensed and regularly inspected by the FDA to ensure the regulatory standards for stem cell banking. Additionally, the laboratory has been accredited by the AABB, an organization that introduced rigid quality standards for processing and preservation of stem cells. AlphaCord is compliant with both the regulatory standards and operational procedures recommended by the AABB, which ensures the quality of processing and preservation of stem cell samples.
At any point in the banking process, clients may and are encouraged to speak to one of the trained client specialists. The specialist holds a knowledge to answer any questions clients may have that relate to any step of the banking process. AlphaCord experts are available for conversation at any time during the day, which ensures that the clients feel safe and informed regarding their samples.
So far, AlphaCord has expedited hundreds of stem cell samples intended for a clinical use. One of the clients of AlphaCord has received the transplantation of his own cord blood at the Dukes Medical Centre.