The Network - Issue 3, Fall 2012
A Starter Guide to Canada’s OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank
It must be an exciting time for Canada’s OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank if kids want to travel back in time for a chance to take part in this milestone on the international stem cell landscape. When she first heard about the importance of cord blood stem cells, ten year old Katie Potter wanted to time travel to her birth and donate her umbilical cord. Katie has since found another way to get involved, but we’ll get back to her story later.
A very exciting and rewarding first cord blood collection to be used as part of validation activities
Many things have taken place since the Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health approved Canadian Blood Services and OneMatch to establish and operate a national, public cord blood bank with the goal of banking 20,000 ethnically diverse cord blood units over eight years.
The OneMatch cord team has expanded to include new individuals with expertise that will help support Canadian and international stem cell patients, by increasing transplant opportunities, while reducing Canada’s sole reliance on internationally sourced cord blood stem cell donations.
This team has also been working with OneMatch recruitment identifying various diverse communities currently underrepresented on the national OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. In particular, Canada’s Black, Aboriginal and multi-ethnic communities who would directly benefit from donations provided from a cord blood donation.
Many logistical and technological advances are also taking place leading up to our go live date in April 2013. As part of these advances, the OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank has been conducting a crucial validation phase since July 2012. This phase will run until December 2012 with collections taking place at The Ottawa Hospital and manufacturing occurring at our Concourse Gate stem cell manufacturing facility in Ottawa.
Validation ensures that the Cord Blood Bank runs at the highest quality when it launches on April 2, 2013. The first part is demonstrating that all equipment used for processing, freezing and testing cord blood units is functioning properly. All of the necessary equipment has been installed, and the renovations completed ready to welcome new cord blood units to the Concourse Gate facility. Our team is working on testing all necessary processes needed to run the OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank to ensure the safety of all donors and patients.
Another part of this phase is working with healthy mothers delivering their babies at The Ottawa Hospital and donating their babies’ umbilical cords for validation. Collaboration between the community, hospital staff and the OneMatch team is fundamental to building a strong foundation for our Public Cord Blood Bank. This validation phase also allows us to raise awareness about the need for cord blood stem cells and offer Canadian mothers a first chance to participate. Although the cord blood units collected during this phase will not be banked for use by patients, they are the building blocks that help us establish a safe and efficient cord blood bank in Canada.
The collaboration culminated on July 12, 2012 when the first cord blood unit was collected for the OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank. The unit was then transported to our Ottawa manufacturing site and put through the entire validation process – from receiving to storage. Since then, cord blood collections for validation are growing, helping our team to ensure our processes and equipment are ready for next spring.
Working together with our hospital and community partners we are able to share expertise and establish processes that will work across the country in the collection and storage of valuable cord blood units. It is the uniting passion of all our partners – young mothers, hospitals and the community – that drives our life-saving mission. And there are ways for all Canadians to get involved, just like ten-year-old Katie did.