Public cord blood bank marks milestone

10:58 PM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
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Michigan Blood shipped its 25,000th cord blood collection kit Friday to a mother living in Saginaw County.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The first public cord blood bank in the state is marking a milestone.

Michigan Blood shipped its 25,000th cord blood collection kit Friday to a mother living in Saginaw County. She'll bring the kit to the hospital at the time of her delivery.

When the umbilical cord is cut, doctors will drain the cord blood and send it to the Grand Rapids lab, which will save the stem cells for people with life-threatening diseases like leukemia and lymphoma.

"There's no pain for mom or baby," says Mary Burroughs, supervisor of the stem cell lab.  "It's going to be discarded as medical waste if it's not collected in use for us and these are life saving cells. The baby, moments after its birth, can be a life-saver by donating that life blood that we could possibly transplant down the line and save a life."

Michigan Blood makes 75-80 cord blood matches a year, sending donated stem cells to as far away as New Zealand.

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