So this is a blood donation camp with a difference. St. Luke’s Hospital will launch the area’s first public umbilical cord blood donation program on Dec 1.

The blood will be collected free of cost from mothers who volunteer. The blood will be stored for future use in diseases like leukemia, sickle cell anemia and dozens of other diseases.

It can be added that cord blood is rich in stem cells and can be used in the same way as stem cells taken from the bone marrow of adult donors.

St. Luke’s will test and process the blood and then ship it, frozen in liquid nitrogen, to the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank based at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.The St. Louis blood bank is one of about 24 accredited public facilities across the country that store cord blood for stem cell transplants.

John Yeast, St. Luke’s director of medical affairs said about the values of cord blood stem cell,

“They really have the same potential as stem cells taken from adult bone marrow. But it’s actually easier and less expensive to use cord blood than to bring in an adult donor.”