January 24, 2021

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Huge donated stem cell database can’t be legally used in Australia

2 min read
<p>It's a therapy that could potentially improve the life of children with a disability, but 40,000 donated umbilical cords remain in storage, unable to be legally used in Australia.</p>

It's a therapy that could potentially improve the life of children with a disability, but 40,000 donated umbilical cords remain in storage, unable to be legally used in Australia.

Rich in stem cells - cord blood and tissue samples are being donated by new parents.

Three clinical trials around the world have shown promising results, at times increasing movement skills beyond what is possible in rehabilitation.

In Australia, umbilical cord samples cannot be legally used for therapy and research, but new parents around Australia continue to donate after giving birth.

"What we see in these trials is that their movement skills are improved, so if they can already can walk, their walking quality is better and for children with severe cerebral palsy, they are able to do more things," Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute Professor Iona Novak said.

"Many parents tell us their child is more alert, for example."

Only 12 families have been able to access Australia's first clinical trial for children with cerebral palsy.

All participants used sibling cords that were privately banked.

For Claire Sayers and her family, it could hold the key to improving Emily's standard of living.

"She fights every day and she puts up a damn good fight, but it would be nice for her to just enjoy the day," Ms Sayers said.

Emily was injected with her brother Oliver's cord blood for the trial.

Now there's hope future research and a change in laws could pave the way for more stem cell therapies.

"If it helps Emily, then brilliant, and if it didn't, then at least it would help someone else," Ms Sayers said.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/stem-cells-umbilical-cord-illegal-research-australia-parents-call-for-change/1644462f-edd1-4caf-b9bb-4158bfe6bb97

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