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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the questions most often asked about stem cells, Genico's services, and newborn Screening. You will find more information on the Services page. If you do not find the information you are looking for, please write to us: our experts will be happy to help you.

Stem cells

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the building blocks of the human body. During embryonic development they divide into the cell lines that form all of the tissues and organs in our body: blood, heart, nerves, muscles, skin, and cornea. In adults, they are found only in the bone marrow and some fat tissues. Stem cells play a key role in our health and well-being. After a pathological event, they can help repair irreversibly damaged tissue.
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What diseases can be cured using stem cells?

For some time now, many forms of leukemia and anemia have been curable using stem cells alone. Stem cells are also used as an adjunct to other treatments. Research is still ongoing for many other diseases.
See complete list of diseases

How are cord blood stem cells different from stem cells taken from umbilical cord tissue?

Stem cells from cord blood are already widely used in treatments for blood disorders such as leukemia and anemia, as well as for some genetic diseases and some types of tumors. Stem cells from umbilical cord tissue can potentially regenerate various types of tissue, not just blood. Medical researchers are continually seeking new therapeutic approaches.
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Is it possible for a family member who suffers from a disease curable using umbilical cord stem cells to be compatible with the child's stored cells?

How is this determined?

When the cells are first put in storage, a small number of stem cells are stored separately. If a family member needs stem cells, compatibility can be tested using these small amounts of material, without having to thaw the entire sample. For brothers and sisters, the likelihood of compatibility is 33%, for parents 12.5%.

Can cryogenically preserved stem cells be sold to third parties?

No. European law prohibits the sale of biological products.

Collecting Cord Blood

Is the collection of cord blood painful or risky?

No. The procedure is noninvasive, risk-free, and completely painless for the mother and child. At the time of collection the cord has already been cut, so the mother feels nothing.
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Is there a connection between the volume of blood collected and the number of stem cells?

As a rule yes. For this reason, we ask that the maximum possible amount of blood be collected. Of course, exceptions for genetic reasons are possible.

Storing Stem Cells With Genico

When should I contact Genico?

Please contact us at least 45 to 50 days before the expected due date, so we will have enough time to take care of formalities related to applying for permission to export cord blood. You should also keep the possibility of a premature delivery in mind.
See detailed handbook

Do I need more than one kit if I have twins?

Yes. If you have twins, you will need a collection kit for each baby. For multiple births, Genico offers a 50% discount for any babies after the first.

Who handles the transport of the kit to the Genico laboratory after the birth?

Immediately after the child is born, your Genico advisor arranges for the kit to be picked up. It will be taken to the laboratory by a courier service approved for transporting biological material. Genico guarantees continual monitoring of the kit during transport. Transport costs are included in the price.
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What happens if it is not possible to take blood and/or tissue samples from the umbilical cord?

In this case, no payment will be required. Any payments already made will be refunded.

Who transports the stem cells if a transplant becomes necessary?

Prerequisites for transport are a written request from the family, confirmed by the application from the physician ordering the transplant, a copy of the cryogenic storage certificate, and a copy of the Minister of Health's authorization to import stem cells. Genico immediately makes the cryogenically preserved stem cells available in an appropriate dry shipper and arranges for direct transport to the transplant center where the procedure will be done.

Why are the stem cells stored for 30 years?

Stem cells can theoretically be stored for an unlimited amount of time. The initial storage period with Genico is 30 years so that the stem cells will be available to your child and family for a long period of time without you having to worry about renewing the service. At the end of the owner's thirtieth year of life, he or she decides whether to continue storing the cells (if they have not already been used).
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StepOne® Expanded Newborn Screening

Why should my I have my child tested with StepOne® expanded newborn Screening?

If a genetic disease is diagnosed early, your doctor can begin targeted treatment before symptoms appear. Expanded newborn Screening tests for over 50 metabolic diseases. It is recommended for newborns, but can also be used on older children until they reach puberty.
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How is newborn Screening done?

The doctor takes a few drops of blood from your child via a heel stick. The blood samples are placed on the blotting paper contained in the Genico kit and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
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Is newborn Screening something new?

No. In the United States, screening for genetic diseases began in the 1960s. Today, screening programs are in place everywhere, but the number of diseases varies by country. In Italy, babies are tested only for cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism, galactosemia, and phenylketonuria.

How many diseases are included in expanded newborn Screening?

StepOne® screening can recognize over 50 genetic diseases, including glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G-6-PD), maple syrup urine disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and many less well-known diseases that may not be included in current government screening programs.
See complete list of diseases

Can I do the test myself?

No. Although the procedure is simple, it must be done by a doctor. Taking your own blood sample for analysis is prohibited.

When are the results available?

Test results are available about 15 to 30 days after the laboratory receives the sample. They will be communicated to you in a sealed envelope and should be given to the doctor.

Page created on: 03/09/2012
Last modified on: 03/09/2012
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