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Immunologically foreign cells that originate from a third-party (= "donor"). Always trigger -> rejection reactions of varying degrees of severity (except in the case of identical twins).


Immunologically identical somatic cells that come from the patient themselves (or from their umbilical cord). No -> rejection reactions possible.

Autologous donation

This refers to the collection of one’s own (= -> autologous) cells, such as e. g. umbilical cord stem cells, for possible later use for the donor.

Bone marrow

Structure in the middle of our bones. So-called "red bone marrow” is responsible for continuously renewing the blood (which means the necessary replenishment of red and white blood cells and platelets).


The name for a particular antigen (= protein molecule), which is to be found on the surface of immature stem cells. Important for the determining -> cell count of stem cells.

Cell count

In connection with the cord blood, the cell count identifies the total number of -> stem cells. It is specified in -> cd34-positive cells per microlitre. The cell count is an important calculation requirement for later applications.


A certificate issued by VitaCord detailing the name of the mother and child, extraction date, as well as the cell count of the deep-frozen umbilical cord stem cells.


Impurities caused by bacteria, viruses and other environmental elements. Contamination must be strictly prevented e.g. when it comes to umbilical cord blood extraction and storage by suitable measures, such as the -> in line procedure

Co-operation agreement

A contract concerning a collaboration. VitaCord has concluded co-operation agreements with hospitals in which obstetricians are provided. This guarantees a smooth process for the extraction of umbilical cord blood and its transportation to VitaCord. Companies which do not have such contracts are de facto not entitled to carry out umbilical cord blood extraction in Austria.

Cord clamping

The double sealing of the umbilical cord once the birth has taken place, in order to separate the child from the afterbirth (-> placenta). The umbilical cord is severed between the two clamping points.


Proper deep-freezing of stem cells using liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius, in order to be able to store them correctly for a long period and to keep them for later use (please refer to -> long-term storage).


The study of the properties and living conditions of all living things.

Early clamping

This refers to clamping the umbilical cord as early as possible after birth. The benefit of this for the child is that it reduces the risk of jaundice in newborn babies, and - if it occurs – it does so in a milder form.

Extraction (of the cord blood)

Puncture of the umbilical cord vein with a sterile needle and subsequent transferring of the cord blood into a sterile blood bag (please also refer to extraction instructions). The puncture procedure is similar to a normal blood extraction from a vein in the arm.


The sum of all genetic information. This equates to a full set of chromosomes in a cell.

Immunogenic cells

Cells belonging to the immune system that can initiate and carry out various defence processes (including against infectious agents or cancer cells). They often have a high -> reproducibility.

In-line procedures

Laboratory processes, which run in hermetically sealed systems, without coming into contact with the environment. Such procedures guarantee maximum security against possible contamination. VitaCord, as an umbilical cord stem cell storage facility, works according to the in-line procedure.

In-vitro expansion

The reproduction of stem cells in the laboratory, whilst retaining their essential properties. Today it is already possible to expand bone marrow stem cells by up to 30-fold. With umbilical cord stem cells, even better in-vitro expansion can be achieved. This means that, in principle, umbilical cord stem cell therapies are even possible on adults weighing more than 40 kilograms.

Legal principles

In Austria, the statutory approval in accordance with the tissue safety act forms the legal foundation for the officially approved handling of stem cells and guarantees that all processing steps and storage are correctly carried out, as checked by authorities. Companies that do not have this approval are de facto not entitled to carry out umbilical cord blood extraction and storage in Austria.

(Long-term) storage

The storage of stem cells using liquid nitrogen. It has been demonstrated that bone marrow stem cells and blood stem cells can be stored for more than 40 years. The ability to store umbilical cord stem cells over a human's entire lifespan is seen as technically feasible.


= afterbirth. It is the part in the womb with which the embryo is connected via the umbilical cord. The placenta therefore connects the baby to the mother and at the same time filters harmful substances from the mother's circulation.


The umbilical cord stem cells are separated from the other blood cells in the laboratory and prepared for the proper freezing process.

Puncture (of the umbilical cord vein)

The procedure by which the umbilical cord blood is extracted. This entry into the umbilical cord vein is comparable to conventional blood extraction from a vein in the arm.

Regenerative medicine

A developing branch of medicine dealing with growing new body tissue and organs from stem cells.

Rejection reaction

Immune defence against possible immunologically foreign (=incompatible) transplant cells.


= the ability to divide and grow. The reproducibility of stem cells therewith means their ability to reproduce themselves and to develop into different tissue cells if required.

Stem cells

Immature ("primitive") cells, which are able to divide and form other precursor cells of various tissues. For example: haematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, neuronal stem cells. Occur in -> bone marrow, or -> umbilical cord blood. Umbilical cord stem cells are free of the genetic damage that people acquire during the course of their lives due to the ageing process and environmental factors.

Stem cell provision

In this case stem cells are extracted from the human body and kept for eventual later use by means of -> long-term storage using liquid nitrogen. They can then be used for a -> stem cell therapy.

Stem cell therapies

Medical procedures in which -> stem cells are used to treat illnesses due to special properties. For example, stem cell transplantation in the case of virulent diseases, dentritic stem cells to fight infections/tumours, new tissue formation in case of heart attack, Parkinson's disease etc.


Chromosome sections of a cell, which are needed to enable the cell to divide (regenerate). The shortening of telomere sections due to repeated cell divisions is an immediate way of expressing how old a cell is.

Tissue safety act

This regulates the correct manufacture and storage of blood products (including umbilical cord blood) in Austria.

Umbilical cord

"Lifeline" between afterbirth (=-> placenta) and child in the womb (= uterus). It is from this vein that blood, rich in oxygen and nutrients, is transported via the placenta from the mother to the growing baby. The baby's heart pumps the blood back to the placenta through the umbilical cord artery. The umbilical cord is clamped immediately after birth and then cut off.


This is the final check in the cryopreservation process. It confirms that all processing steps and the deep-freezing process have been carried out correctly.


Vital means living. Vitality is the fact that the deep-frozen stem cells "come to life" again after thawing and can therefore be used purposefully. The vitality of stem cells after the freezing process is measured by means of special tests.