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January 8, 2024

Anja FAQ: Usage and Retrieval

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Our Quality Guarantee

We recognize that choosing to bank your baby's cord blood is a significant decision, and we are here to support you throughout this incredible journey.

At Anja Health, we provide exceptional value with our $100,000 quality guarantee, and in the unfortunate event that your cord blood fails to engraft, we offer a full refund of the services paid to Anja, giving you the utmost assurance. Our approach to stem cell banking is centered on comprehensive care, offering you a reassuring beacon amidst life's twists and turns.

Requirements for Coverage:

  • Collection and Processing: The stem cells must be collected using Anja Health's collection kit and processed and cryopreserved by our dedicated team.
  • Transplantation: The stem cells must be used in a stem cell transplant for hematopoietic reconstitution, either by the donor (autologous use) or by a first or second-degree genetic relative.
  • Qualified Medical Facility: The stem cells must be released to a medical facility qualified by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for stem cell transplantation. Furthermore, these cells should be administered to the patient by a transplant physician.
  • Engraftment Period: Adequate time must be provided post-transplant for engraftment to occur.
  • Cell Integrity: The stem cells must remain free from positive or negative cell selection, manipulation, gene therapy, or cell expansion.
  • Cell Counts: The cord blood sample must contain a minimum of 2 x 10^7 total nucleated cells per kilogram and at least 1 x 10^5 CD34+ cells per kilogram.
  • Exclusivity: The stem cells must not be used in conjunction with other stem cell sources, such as additional cord blood, peripheral blood, or bone marrow.
  • Experiments and Procedures: Experimental procedures, including mini-transplants, cell expansion, gene therapy, or other extensive laboratory cultures, are not covered by the guarantee.
  • No Investigational Drug: The patient and/or stem cell sample must not be subjected to an investigational drug within 100 days of transplantation.

Definition of Engraftment:

Engraftment is defined as achieving a peripheral blood absolute neutrophil count of 500 per microliter for three consecutive measurements, with the first occurring within 100 days of transplantation. The engraftment must originate from the donor.

Guarantee Amount:

Anja Health's Cord Blood Banking Quality Guarantee provides coverage of up to $100,000 in the event that your banked cord blood stem cells fail to engraft during a qualified transplant.

Required Documentation to Process Claim:

  • Valid Medical Records: Verification of non-engraftment through valid medical records.
  • Payment Notification: Proof of notification of payment (including the amount paid) to all third parties responsible for associated collection, storage, or transplant fees.

Important Considerations:

  • Our quality guarantee adheres to the terms and conditions of our service agreement.
  • Banking your child's cord blood with Anja Health provides invaluable protection but does not guarantee a match for any particular family member or treatment suitability.
  • The utilization of cord blood stem cells will ultimately depend on a physician's evaluation of the disease type and HLA matching.

Legal Disclaimer:

Anja Health's Cord Blood Banking Quality Guarantee is governed by applicable laws and regulations. By using our services and accepting the guarantee, you agree to adhere to the terms and conditions as outlined in our service agreement. Anja Health reserves the right to update its guarantee terms in accordance with changes in the industry and regulatory requirements.

For any questions or further clarification regarding Anja Health's Cord Blood Banking Quality Guarantee, please do not hesitate to contact an Anja specialist. 💙

How Are Your Baby's Stem Cells Matched to Treatment Needs?

When you want to use your baby's stored stem cells for a specific treatment, the identification process involves matching the characteristics of the stored stem cells with the requirements of the treatment. This typically includes factors such as the type of stem cells needed, tissue compatibility, and other relevant medical criteria.

Firstly, your healthcare provider will assess the medical condition and treatment requirements. They will then work with their laboratory to identify the most suitable stem cell sample from your baby's stored collection.

Their laboratory will perform tests to determine the compatibility between the stored stem cells and the treatment needs. These tests can include HLA typing, which analyzes human leukocyte antigens, and other matching criteria specific to the treatment.

By comparing the characteristics of your baby's stem cells with the treatment requirements, they can identify the best match for successful transplantation or therapy.

Rest assured that at Anja, we prioritize the accurate identification and matching of stem cells to ensure their optimal use for potential treatments. Our stringent protocols and quality assurance measures are designed to maintain the integrity and traceability of your baby's stem cell sample throughout the identification and utilization process.

Can I store my baby's stem cells for longer than 20 years?

You'll have a total of 20 years of storage for your child's precious stem cells, and then are able to renew for an additional 20 years.

We do this to give families peace of mind and ample time to assess their needs and make an informed decision, especially since their child will be 20 years old and circumstances may change.

How can Mesenchymal Stem Cells be utilized for medical purposes?

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are the subject of multiple - and growing - clinical research studies. They are focused on utilizing MSCs for the treatment of severe wounds and physical trauma, stroke, spinal cord injuries, liver disease, Autism, lung disease, Alzheimer's, and heart disease.

To learn more in-depth, check out our blog post Blood vs. Tissue vs. Placenta | Why Bank and What's The Difference?

What are the potential uses of Hematopoietic Stem Cells?

Hematopoietic Stem Cell (HSCs), found in the umbilical cord blood, treatments are standard-of-care for multiple sclerosis treatments, and it has additionally been successfully used to treat cancers like leukemia and metabolic, immune, and blood disorders, such as Krabbe Disease and Sickle Cell Disease.

Over 1300 clinical trials are currently being conducted to examine how it can treat neurological conditions as well - including cerebral palsy and Autism.

To learn more in-depth about hematopoietic stem cells, check out our post:   Advancements & Research: Stem Cell Transplant for Leukemia and What are CD34 Cells in Cord Blood?

If I don't bank my baby's stem cells, can they find a public stem cell match in the future?

There is no easy yes or no answer to this question. There are multiple factors that play a part in finding a stem cell match from a public bank.

From our friends at Be the Match, "Research has found that a donor must match a minimum of 6 HLA markers. Many times a closer match is required. The best match is found through detailed testing. Because some HLA types are more common than others, some patients may face a greater challenge in finding a matching donor. Some HLA types are found more often in certain racial and ethnic groups.

"A close match between a donor’s and a patient’s HLA markers is essential for a successful transplant outcome. HLA matching promotes the growth and development of new healthy blood cells (called engraftment) and reduces the risk of a post-transplant complication called graft-versus-host (GVHD) disease."

Your odds of finding a donor match based on ethnic background are as follows:

  • Black or African American: 29%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 47%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 48%
  • American Indian & Alaska Native: 60%

  • White: 79%

How can I access and retrieve my baby's stored stem cells?

After birth, you have access to a portal where you can view your stem cell certificate and contact us in case you ever want to retrieve your stem cells.

You would need to have a physician ready to receive the stem cells for treatment (generally for an FDA-approved or clinical trial use case). An Anja specialist will work with you to get the stem cells to your designated physician shortly after you contact us.

Something to note, there is no retrieval fee associated with this request, only a shipping fee. This fee may vary depending on the location of our New Jersey lab. We will communicate this with you before it is complete so you are aware of your options.

What does my Stem Cell Report mean?

We understand that interpreting the data can be a bit overwhelming, but don't worry, we're here to guide you through it.

Understanding these numbers is crucial when evaluating the potential effectiveness of your baby's cord blood collection. Let's dive in:

  • Collection Volume: The initial overall volume of the cord blood collection after processing gives us a general insight into its potential effectiveness. While a larger collection volume often means more stem cells, it's important to note that the number of stem cells is a more direct measure of transplantation effectiveness. The average median pre-processing of stem cells is 20 mL. This is standard and leaves you with all the vital blood stem cells required for transplantation in the future. 
  • Total Nucleated Cell Count (TNC): Total nucleated cell count; includes any cell with a nucleus (platelets, white blood cells, etc.) Anja’s collections range from 200 million to 2 billion. TNC count is widely used to determine the relative potency of cord blood collection. They are dependent on the length of the cord, genetics, and whether the birth involved delayed cord clamping. 
  • CD34+ Cell Count: CD34+ cell count helps us evaluate the number of hematopoietic stem cells in the cord blood collection. They are dependent on the length of the cord, genetics, and whether the birth involved delayed cord clamping. 
  • Viability: Viability testing assesses whether cells are alive or dead. A viability range of 50-100% is observed, with an average median of around 80%. Any viability percentage above 50% can be sufficient for potential future use.

It's important to note that Total CD34+ and TNC measurements have several variables and aren't considered definitive indicators of processing success. Additionally, if we receive pre-processed units below 20 mL we are unable to proceed with processing. Don't worry though, we'll reach out to you within 24-48 hours upon receiving the unit to inform you and make any necessary adjustments to your plan.

Learn more about CD34 stem/progenitor cells here.

Can family members use the stored stem cells?

Your entire family can potentially benefit from your baby's cord blood!

The utilization of your newborn's stem cells within the family can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The patient's condition
  • Whether it is a current treatment (transplant medicine) or experimental use (regenerative medicine)
  • How closely HLA matched the patient is to the child with preserved cord blood
  • How closely related the patient is to the child with preserved cord blood

Saving your newborn's stem cells with Anja Health ensures that your baby's stem cells will be available to your family if you ever need them in the future. Families choose Anja, a private bank because there are significant benefits to using your own stem cells or stem cells from a family member if ever needed. Here are some key considerations:

  • First or second-degree relatives who are a suitable match may be able to use your newborn's cord blood stem cells.
  • Full siblings are the most likely to be compatible matches, with a 75% chance of being at least a partial match.
  • Both biological parents will always be a partial match, 50%.
  • Extended family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews are less likely to be immune-compatible but still have the chance to be a partial match at 25%.

Your child will always be a perfect match for their own stem cells and could use them for a growing number of diseases. However, it's important to note that they may not be generally applicable to inherited genetic conditions. In such cases, a matched sibling's stem cells offer the best choice.

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