Brandon Nuechterlein was 15 when he was diagnosed with two different forms of leukemia. After being given an incorrect diagnosis in Thailand his family called the Children’s Hospital and came to Colorado for a proper diagnosis. After relapsing following conventional chemotherapy Brandon Nuechterlein, was given a cord blood transplant by Ralph Quinones, MD, wherein the stem cells were expanded using an experimental protocol to provide a sufficient cell dose. Now Nuechterlein is 29 years old, cancer free, and working as a physician assistant with children who have cancer in the Bone Marrow/Cord Blood transplant unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado. This is just one story of thousands spotlighting how a cord blood transplant saved a life.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed the University of Colorado Cord Blood Bank (UCCBB), a public cord blood bank. It is only the second bank in the U.S. to be licensed under the new FDA licensure program for umbilical cord blood banking. (New York Blood Bank was the first last year).
“We are absolutely thrilled and excited that the FDA has licensed us and validated the last 16 years since the cord blood bank’s inception in 1996,” said Ralph Quinones, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, co-medical director of UCCBB and one of its founders. “We are pleased that as a small cord blood bank, we met this challenge and look forward to sharing our experiences with the cellular therapy community.”
The UCCBB has collected and banked umbilical cord blood since 1996. The UCCBB has consented 17,000 women and banked over 8,000 cord blood units, of which more than 620 have been transplanted at over 150 transplant centers in the United States and abroad such as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and Uruguay. One quarter of the units are from donors of Hispanic or mixed Hispanic heritage.
In Colorado, new parents giving birth at Denver Health and Exempla St. Joseph can opt to donate their newborn’s umbilical cord blood to this public bank at the time of birth. The donated cord blood may be banked if it meets stringent laboratory requirements and could one day save the life of a person who has a life threatening disease.
UCCBB also has a Statewide Cord Blood Collection Program. For more information, please visit How to Donate Your Baby’s Cord Blood.