Atlanta, Ga. (September 23, 2012) – Piedmont Atlanta Hospital received a grant from the Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation that will assist the facility in becoming a public cord blood collection center and the first hospital in Atlanta to partner with the nonprofit Cleveland Cord Blood Center.
Cord blood is rich in blood-forming cells that can be used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other life-threatening blood diseases. After a mother consents to donate her baby’s umbilical cord and once the baby is born, the donated unit is then registered and sent to the FACT (Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy) accredited Cleveland Cord Blood Center for use by transplant centers working to save the lives of patients all over the world.
“We’re excited the Cleveland Cord Blood Center chose to partner with Piedmont Atlanta,” said Les Donahue, president and CEO of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. “Each year, approximately 3,500 babies are delivered at the hospital. If even a fraction of those babies’ cord blood is donated, think how many lives would be saved.”
Right now, 169 people in Georgia are searching for an unrelated donor match to save their lives, according to BeTheMatchFoundation.org. An unrelated donor match may come from donors providing bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood stem cells.
“Currently, umbilical cords containing cells with life-saving capacity are normally thrown away as medical waste,” said Nancy Cook,M.D., an OBGYN at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. “With the help of this grant, Piedmont Atlanta will be able to offer a way for a delivering mom to donate her baby’s cord blood to a public bank-- essentially giving life twice—first to her own child, and next to potentially save the life of a patient with a blood disease.”
Parents interested in donating their baby’s umbilical cord after their birth should discuss with their obstetrician or contact Piedmont Atlanta during their pregnancy. There is no cost to the family when donating a baby’s umbilical cord to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center.