In an article published recently in the Sunday Star-Times, a New Zealand doctor questioned the likelihood of the use and value of cord blood banking. In response, the parents of the child successfully treated with her own cord blood for a neuroblastoma, wrote to the paper to express their concern at the inaccurate information published. The parents, who wished to retain their anonymity, had no family history of cancer and had banked their child’s cord blood with CordBank:
“We are the parents of the neuroblastoma child mentioned in the Sunday Star Times article.
Neuroblastoma, a cancer that mostly affects children* is usually treated with the patient’s own cells and not that of others and this important issue was not addressed by the newspapers critic, Michael Sullivan.
It is now about 18 months since our child was treated with her own cord cells and she appears to have made a miraculous recovery from a stage 4 cancer that nearly killed her.
We are truly grateful that we entered into this scheme which is like an insurance policy that you hope never to have to call upon. At the very least it has given our family hope.
The financial cost was a very small price to pay.”
1 in 400 chance of needing a stem cell transplant
Many of the doctor’s comments have previously been refuted by the authors of an international study which concluded that the likelihood of needing a transplant using stem cells is 1:400.
Dr J.J. Nietfeld (Ph.D) Associate Professor at the University Medical Center Utrecht (Netherlands) has called for an update on opinions regarding the use of cord blood as comments made by the New Zealand doctor were based on out of date information. You can read Dr Neitfeld views at http://hematopoiesis.info/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/nrc2418-c1.pdf
*Neuroblastoma comprises 6-10% of all childhood cancers, and 15% of cancer deaths in children. The annual mortality rate is 10 per million children in the 0- to 4-year-old age group, and 4 per million in the 4- to 9-year old age group.