cordbloodconferenceOn April 7, the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission and University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix held the inaugural 2016 Arizona Cord Blood Conference: Lifeline to the Future. The conference brought together policy makers, patients and their families, researchers, and clinicians together to build awareness of collecting umbilical cord blood and create a cohesive network supporting the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program.

The Arizona Cord Blood Program collects umbilical cord blood, which contains blood-forming cells that are also found in bone marrow, from the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby is born. The cord blood can be stored and used in transplants for patients that have certain genetic or life-threating diseases such as leukemiaaplastic anemia, and congenital conditions like severe combined immunodeficiency.

National leaders in the field, such as Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg from Duke University, spoke at the conference about the challenges facing cord blood collection, strategies to improve collection and quality, reaching diverse populations and the importance of diversity in cord blood collection, and advances in cord blood research and clinical application.

Three Arizona families shared their stories at the conference about how cord blood saved their children’s lives. You can see Dylan Praskins story here. Presenter slides will be posted online at the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission website.