Carolinas HealthCare System
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Carolinas Medical Center-University now offers expectant mothers easy way to donate cord blood

Hospital is one of only two in the region to be a certified participant in cord blood bank program

Carolinas Medical Center-University, a part of Carolinas HealthCare System, recently became the second hospital in the Charlotte area certified as a participant in a free, public umbilical cord blood donation program.

The hospital sent its first successfully collected unit of cord blood to the blood bank on December 23.

“Being a part of bringing new life into the world is one of the best parts of my job,” said Jeanne Rollins, M.D., the physician who was involved in the first collection. “Add to that the collection of cord blood for donation – and maybe saving someone’s life – it’s just magical.” Dr. Rollins practices at Eastover-University OB/GYN at its Prosperity Crossing location.

Cord blood is growing in prominence as an alternative and addition to bone marrow transplants.

Currently, fetal cells from cord blood can be used to treat more than 60 different malignant and genetic diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia.

Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast was the first hospital in the region to be certified by Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, which is housed and affiliated with Duke Medical Center.

“Cord blood can treat many of the diseases that bone marrow transplants can,” said Ryan Brown, MD, regional medical director of Carolinas Hospitalist Group and medical director of the cord blood program.

Dr. Brown brought the program to CMC-NorthEast after a close friend’s struggle with sickle cell anemia spurred his interest in the capabilities of cord blood. Now, he leads the hospital’s study of cord blood in partnership with the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, which serves as a biorepository for the storage of the samples and provides samples to investigators wanting to do cord blood research.

At CMC-NorthEast and now CMC-University, specially trained physicians and staff collect cord blood from participating mothers and send viable samples to Carolinas Cord Blood Bank for further processing and banking. Public cord blood banking allows donations of cord blood to be available for anyone in need of a transplant.

“Healthcare professionals at public cord blood banking hospitals are properly trained and credentialed to collect cord blood. This leads to samples that are more likely to be banked and used to treat disease,” said Deirdra Taylor, coordinator of the cord blood program. “We plan to continue expanding this service to other hospitals -- the expansion of the program from NorthEast to University was just the first step.”