South Texas Blood & Tissue is part of a newly formed alliance to help build awareness of and expand research into umbilical cord blood therapies.
The Be The Match BioTherapies Cord Blood Bank Alliance was announced in July and includes eight banks around the country, including the Texas Cord Blood Bank, which is part of South Texas Blood & Tissue.
“Cord blood is an abundantly available biologic resource with a proven safety profile that can be leveraged to develop critical, life-saving cell therapies,” said Heather Stefanski, MD PhD, Vice President Medical Services, National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match, in the announcement of the alliance.
“As a global leader in cell therapy, we are proud to lead the CBBA as it works to expand the use of cord blood in the advancement of cell therapy that will ultimately save more lives.”
The alliance could help in the development of new advanced therapies by helping researchers identify and access cord blood units more easily.
“We have been collecting, categorizing and storing cord blood donations since 2005, and we’re proud to be part of this effort to expand their use to help more people,” said Dr. Vivienne Marshall, Senior Director of the Center for Advanced Therapies with South Texas Blood & Tissue.
“Being a part of the alliance, which promotes and organizes the use of this stored cord blood, has the potential to advance research in
to a wide range of blood, immune disorders, and new cancer treatments.”
Cord blood has been used for stem cell transplants for decades, but researchers are finding that cord blood units are particularly useful as a cellular starting material, for advanced therapies for the development of new therapies for cancer.
According to its website, “Be The Match BioTherapies will act as the single point of contact for contracting and quality system engagement between researchers and developers seeking therapy matched CBUs, and cord blood banks.”
South Texas Blood & Tissue collects an average of 1,000 cord blood units a year donated by new parents at its network of hospitals in San Antonio, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley.
The alliance will provide visibility into the Be The Match Registry of 270,000 clinical grade, fully characterized CBUs in domestic banks, and manage the logistics to ensure CBUs are delivered to cell therapy developers when needed.