The New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) was started in 1992 with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It was founded to investigate cord blood as a possible solution to a critical public health need: finding appropriate hematopoietic transplants for patients who have no matched bone marrow donors. Since 2002, it has been part of the Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Center.
Through March 2015, NCBP has banked more than 60,000 cord blood units and provided over 5,300 cord blood units for transplantation to patients, and is still the largest non-profit public cord blood bank in the world.
NCBP is committed to providing high quality cord blood units and promoting high standards in cord blood banking. The New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program was the first cord blood bank to work under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) IND (Investigational New Drug) exemption (1996) and the first to receive NetCord-FACT Accreditation (2003). It is also the first cord blood bank to obtain FDA licensure for its product, HEMACORD®, the first ever stem cell product to be licensed (November 10th, 2011) [See Milestones]. In addition, NCBP vigorously supports FDA strengthened oversight of the clinical use of cord blood as an investigational HPC, Cord Blood. NCBP has amended its own IND to comply fully with this requirement.
HEMACORD®, the First FDA-Licensed stem cell product, earned the “Best Biotechnology Product 2014” a prestigious Award by Prix Galien USA, in October 2014. The award recognizes “biomedical products that advance the human condition and which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the past five years,” according to the Galien Foundation.
The New York Blood Center’s NCBP has its own teams of trained technicians and nurses collecting cord blood in collaboration with birthing hospitals [See Collection Sites]. Staff in our Processing Laboratory process, freeze and store the cord blood units in liquid nitrogen freezers, ready for shipping whenever needed. Each unit is tested for the number and viability of relevant cells. The unit and the donor’s mother are also tested for HLA type and certain transmissible infectious diseases. NCBP staff work with Transplant Centers and Registries to help select the “best” available unit for each individual patient, drawing on what we have learned from units already transplanted. Prior to transplantation, we confirm the HLA type of the cord blood unit and of the donor’s mother. The Program staff, including Drs. Pablo Rubinstein, NCBP Chief Innovation Officer, and Andromachi Scaradavou, Co-Program Director and Medical Director, are available to Transplant Center physicians and coordinators for consultation on cord blood unit selection.
Since 2008, NCBP has participated in the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI), an initiative of the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) aimed at increasing the availability of high-quality, ethnically diverse cord blood units for hematopoietic transplantation. The National Cord Blood Inventory is included in the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, Public Law 109-129 (Stem Cell Act 2005) and the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2010, Public Law 111-264 (Stem Cell Act 2010). The NCBI portion of the Stem Cell Act of 2005 and 2010 provides some funding for the collection and storage of at least 150,000 cord blood units. These cord blood units will be available through the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (a HRSA Program) to treat patients who need an umbilical cord blood or bone marrow transplants. Related aspects of the HRSA Program are the Office of Patient Advocacy/Single Point of Access, the Cord Blood Coordinating Center and the Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database.