Local millionaire opens private cutting-edge stem cell centerPosted: Updated:
GILBERT, Ariz. -- Research shows using umbilical cord blood can be a weapon in the war against deadly diseases and one Valley facility is hoping to motivate more moms to contribute.
“This is the first option we had locally to donate blood that would be publicly banked,” Deidre Wilson said.
Wilson feels honored to be the first donor at the Celebration Stem Cell Centre. This state-of-the-art facility recently opened in Gilbert, making it the Valley's first cord blood bank.
“It's something that's totally harmless for the mom and baby,” Wilson said. “The stem cells that are collected from the umbilical cord have shown tremendous promise in research. So that makes it exciting because now more couples will likely consider this as an option.”
Cord blood stem cells can potentially help fight leukemia, cerebral palsy and other life-threatening diseases. The Celebration Stem Cell Centre is also the only place in Arizona to offer free public donation services.
“It's the best insurance policy they can buy for their baby or someone in their family,” said Celebration Stem Cell Centre founder Sherry Lund. “So that baby's cord blood could be used for a transplant.”
If expectant parents are interested in private banking or public donation, they’re given a box with instructions for their obstetrician.
“The parents take the box or collection box to the hospitals when the babies are born,” Lund said. “The doctor collects the cord blood and it's put into the box with the parents' documents and sent to us.
“We then run a cd34 on every sample, which gives us a nucleated stem cell count,” she continued. “So it will tell the parents how many nucleated stem cells that are available and ready to use for transplant in that sample.”
Samples that make the cut are kept frozen at the facility. If not stored for private banking, the stem cells are listed on a national registry for doctors to access across the country.
“It gives people hope and it changes their life,” Lund said. “It gives them a chance at life and it gives them a better quality of life.”
The cost for private banking, which includes the processing and first year of storage, is almost $2,000. Families interested in donating or banking their baby's cord blood must notify the center by the 34th week of pregnancy.
For more information call 1-877-522-2355 or 480-722-9963 or go to Celebration Stem Cell Centre.