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Histostem Works With Korean Government Agency to Provide Cord Blood Storage for Multicultural Families

Stem Cell Therapy International Press Release, March 5, 2010

The US company Amstem through subsidiary signed a partnership agreement with the Songpa-Gu Office of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, to provide umbilical cord blood banking to multicultural families for up to 15 years.  Cord blood is currently used for treatment of patients with blood disorders such as leukemias as an alternative to bone marrow.  Unfortunately many patients do not have suitable donors, this is especially true in patients of various ethnicities.  The current program is designed to overcome this problem.

The president of AmStem International, Inc., David Stark  stated  "This provides AmStem and Histostem with another 'badge of validity' with government health agencies around the world. A diverse genetic catalogue of autologous, HLA-typed stem cell resources such as cord blood is in extremely high demand right now -- not only by individual families, but by government-sponsored scientists and other researchers worldwide. This is exactly the kind of collaborative, networking opportunity that AmStem hopes to expand in North America and Europe."

In recent years the use of cord blood for diseases not associated with blood has been increasing.  For example, the Cord Blood Bank Viacell has patents on the use of cord blood for treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (Kraus et al. US patent #7452529 - Treatment of muscular dystrophy with cord blood cells).  The group has collaborated with the US company Medistem at publishing use of cord blood together with other cells for treatment of a patient with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy that resulted in functional improvement (Ichim et al. Mesenchymal stem cells as anti-inflammatories: implications for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Cell Immunol. 2010;260(2):75-82).  The reason why cord blood appears to be useful in treatment of a variety of conditions is believed to be due, at least in part, to ability of the cells to produce numerous therapeutic factors that stimulate stem cells already in the body to start multiplying.  Additionally, numerous studies have shown that cord blood derived stem cells can produce cells ranging from liver to brain to heart muscle.  A description of cord blood stem cells may be seen on this video .

Dr. Hoon Han, AmStem's Chairman, commented on the cord blood bank, "With more than 1.1 million foreigners now living in Korea, the number of multicultural marriages and families is on the rise. By providing these families the opportunity to store the donated umbilical cord blood, we give them access to autologous stem cells that may be used in the future treatment of certain cancers, such as leukemia, as well as immune and genetic disorders. In addition, by addressing the multicultural population in Korea, this collaborative opportunity also increases the genetic diversity of the available supply of umbilical cord blood derived stem cells -- which may benefit Korean and foreign patients alike."

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