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Montefiore Medical Center Joins New York Blood Center as Collection Site for Umbilical Cord Blood

New York City, NY (March 14, 2007) - - Leaders from New York Blood Center (NYBC) and Montefiore Medical Center were joined today by Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr. at The Jack D. Weiler Hospital, a Division of Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, for an opening ceremony to celebrate the establishment of the hospital’s umbilical cord blood collection site – the first such facility in the Bronx and the seventh that NYBC has set up in the United States. 

Montefiore will now serve as a site for donation of cord blood donated by some of the 5,000 mothers who have babies at the hospital each year.  The program provides life-saving cord blood for patients in need of stem cell transplantation. Like bone marrow, cord blood is rich in hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells and is an effective alternative to bone marrow in transplantation for lethal diseases of the blood and immune system, as well as certain inherited metabolic diseases. 

"As the only collection site in the Bronx, we can provide an ethnically diverse source of blood for those in need," said Irwin R. Merkatz, MD, the Chella and Moise Safra Professor and University Chair, Department of OB/GYN and Women’s Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.  "Mothers who give birth at Montefiore will now have the opportunity to donate their cord blood to patients waiting for bone marrow transplants here at home or anywhere in the world." 

“NYBC is delighted to be partnering with Montefiore Medical Center,” said Robert L. Jones, MD, President and CEO of NYBC.  “The Montefiore site is a vital new component of NYBC’s National Cord Blood Program (NCBP).  Its contributions to the Program will enhance our ability to meet the needs of patients who do not have a matched relative who can be a bone marrow donor for them.  The cord blood provided by this new site will help give a chance for surviving otherwise lethal diseases of the blood, such as leukemia and lymphoma, genetic diseases such as immunodeficiency syndromes, and sickle cell anemia.”

The scientists at NYBC’s NCBP believe that the Montefiore site will give added hope to all patients with no match-related donor, but, especially, to ethnic minorities who have a greater difficulty finding suitable donors.  “Unlike bone marrow transplants, cord blood transplants do not have to be a perfect match to the patient’s tissue type, which gives minorities a better chance of success at finding sufficiently matched cord blood transplants”, said Pablo Rubinstein, MD, Director of NCBP.  

NYBC’s NCBP is a pioneer in the use of unrelated donor cord blood for transplantation.  Since the Program’s inception in 1992, it has spearheaded research, testing and adoption of this treatment throughout the world, having banked approximately 39,000 cord blood donations and provided cord blood for more than 2,300 children and adult patients of all ethnic backgrounds in the United States and 32 other countries. This collaboration with Montefiore will help NYBC reach its inventory goal of 70,000 cord blood units. For more information on NYBC ’s NCBP, visit http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/.

NYBC, one of the nation’s largest non-profit, community-based blood centers, has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to patients in New York and New Jersey hospitals since 1964.  NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion and Hemophilia Services) through its medical professionals and transfusion medicine physicians.   NYBC includes five regional recruitment, collection and distribution operations in Manhattan, Brooklyn/Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey and the Hudson Valley.

New York Blood Center is home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world’s first and largest public cord blood bank.  For more information on NYBC, visit http://www.nybloodcenter.org/

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