Summary of The Life-Saving Treatment That’s Being Thrown in the Trash

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The Life-Saving Treatment That’s Being Thrown in the Trash summary
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  • Controversial
  • Scientific
  • Inspiring


Bryn Nelson tells the story of a miracle cure that hardly anyone uses. He reports that it’s expensive, that doctors aren’t creating sufficient demand to bring the price down and that insurers aren’t funding it. But why? Since it has numerous potential applications and a sizable body of research supporting its use and it outperforms the alternatives, the lack of popularity is baffling. Whatever the reason, Nelson successfully sells the idea that cord blood shouldn’t just be thrown away. getAbstract recommends his analysis to anyone who loves medical innovation and hates waste.

About the Author

Bryn Nelson is a Seattle-based freelance writer and editor with an interest in biology, biomedicine, ecology and green technology.



In 2015, leukemia patient Chris Lihosit received an umbilical cord blood donation that gave his body the stem cells and progenitor cells it needed to heal. In the late 1980s, researchers had discovered that cord blood was an alternative to donated bone marrow, with the advantage that they could collect and store it for decades and thaw it out when they needed it. Bone marrow and other tissue donations require a tissue match between the patient and their donor. Cord blood cells are more adaptable, so the match doesn’t need to be as close, a quirk which...

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