The first ever (in Clinical history) Cystic Fibrosis cord blood collection was made at the Mercy Hospital in Werribee on Easter Saturday.

This first collection of cord blood from the sibling of a child with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a major step towards treating the deadly effects of Australia’s most common severe genetic condition among children, for which there is no cure.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is Australia’s most common life shortening genetic condition. CF primarily affects the lungs and digestive system, and causes a build up of thick sticky mucus in the body resulting in repeated lung infections and poor digestion. Approximately 3000 Australians have CF and a further one million others are healthy carriers of the defective cystic fibrosis gene. If two carriers met and have a child there is a one in four chance for each pregnancy that the child will be affected by cystic fibrosis. In Australia, 1 in every 2500 births results in a child with CF.
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Professor Bob Williamson, spokesperson for Cystic Fibrosis Victoria, said the fantastic generosity of Biocell and CyGenics to Cystic Fibrosis Australia could extend to collecting as many as 36 cord bloods over three years for families with cystic fibrosis in Australia and New Zealand. This represents a commitment valued at more than A$100,000 (approximately US$75,000) over the three years.

According to Professor Williamson, cord blood stem cells represent a real glimmer of hope for cystic fibrosis sufferers, with their potential to physically rebuild lungs previously considered damaged beyond repair.

The latest research in Australia, Germany and the United States shows that stem cells from cord blood can give cells that are very similar to lung cells. In a mouse model for cystic fibrosis, the cells help to cure the disease. And here in Melbourne, at The Alfred Hospital, it has been shown that when lungs are transplanted into patients, they appear to take up stem cells from the recipient and integrate them into the airways.

Source: Medical News Today