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Community Blood Services and Coriell Institute Announce Cord Blood Collection and Research Alliance.

PARAMUS, N.J. & CAMDEN, N.J. -- Community Blood Services in Bergen County, NJ and Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, NJ - two not-for-profit leaders in the umbilical cord blood movement - have announced a major strategic alliance creating the largest public cord blood bank in New Jersey. The public bank will be known as the New Jersey Cord Blood Bank (NJCBB).

The NJCBB will merge the public cord blood operations of Community Blood Services with Coriell's public cord blood bank into Community Blood Services. Under the terms of the May 26 agreement, Coriell transferred ownership of the NJCBB and its employees to Community Blood Services.

The agreement is designed to accelerate public cord blood collections statewide and to streamline the search process used by the transplant community to find matches for its patients. At the same time research efforts into clinical developments using umbilical cord stem cells will increase. The new alliance enables both organizations to concentrate their efforts around areas of specific expertise. Community Blood Services will boost initiatives to educate pregnant women and expand collections at hospitals in southern New Jersey and New York State, while Coriell will direct its efforts toward cord blood stem cell research.

"Community Blood Services is pleased to be joining forces with Coriell to help drive the momentum for cord blood stem cells to transform the treatment of serious diseases," said Dennis M. Todd, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Community Blood Services. "By pooling our institutions' individual strengths, we can potentially intensify the pace of clinical developments in this area for thousands of critically ill patients."

For Coriell, an internationally recognized biomedical research institution that maintains the world's largest collection of human cells/tissues for use by the scientific community worldwide, the new alliance enables the Institute to focus on its cord blood research initiatives.

"Cord blood stem cells hold enormous clinical potential, but a great deal more research is needed to better understand their role in treating specific diseases," said Joseph L. Mintzer, executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. "Our new alliance with Community Blood Services will allow Coriell to direct its efforts towards addressing the research questions and issues that are emerging almost daily as we learn more about cord blood stem cells and their clinical impact."

As a result of the alliance, the NJCBB and the Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program (EKUCBP) at Community Blood Services will continue as separate operating divisions of Community Blood Services. The NJCBB will be responsible for the public (allogeneic) cord blood banking program, while the EKUCBP will be responsible for Community Blood Services' private (autologous) cord blood banking program and its contract processing and storage program. All public cord blood units held by EKUCBP prior to the agreement will be transferred and managed by the NJCBB.

The NJCBB will collect, process and store public cord blood collections from 24 hospitals in both northern and southern New Jersey and 15 hospitals in New York State, and will work to expand its collections at additional hospitals throughout the region. The NJCBB also handles collections from Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware.

In 2005, both Community Blood Services and Coriell were named state-designated cord blood centers by former Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. That pioneering stem cell initiative made New Jersey the first state in the nation to create a publicly funded cord blood and placental research and education program. Since that time, the increase in cord blood collections and the need for clinical research have grown.

Community Blood Services is a network cord blood bank with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and is certified by the AABB.

More than 8,000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide since 1988. Together, Coriell and Community Blood Services' public cord blood programs have resulted in 84 transplants and the new alliance has the potential to significantly increase that number. Cord blood has been used to successfully treat more than 40 life-threatening diseases, including cancers, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and metabolic storage disorders. Promising research trends include the use of cord blood to treat autoimmune disease and to repair damaged heart and neural tissue.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 26, 2007
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