Navigate Up

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Senior Director
Telephone: 412-586-9764
Patients and medical professionals may call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information.

Dan Berger Cord Blood Program at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Exceeds 1,300 Collections

Program Expands to Several Western Pennsylvania Hospitals

PITTSBURGH, April 20, 2009 — Launched in October 2007, the Dan Berger Cord Blood Program at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC has collected more than 1,300 donations of valuable cord blood, which conventionally is discarded as medical waste. Found in the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of a child, cord blood is rich in stem cells and can be used for blood and bone marrow transplants to treat and potentially cure more than 40 diseases, including sickle cell anemia, leukemia and cancer. Since its inception, Magee’s program has expanded to various UPMC hospitals and will soon be available at other hospital systems in Western Pennsylvania.

“The Dan Berger Cord Blood Program is unlike any other in the country, since collections can be donated to research, preserved for the family’s use in a contracted private bank, or donated to the community-benefiting public bank,” said Dennis English, M.D., vice president of medical affairs at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. “Once our program was up and running at Magee, we felt strongly about expanding the program to outlying hospitals in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. We are pleased with this program’s development and hope to continue its rapid growth.”

Dr. English provided medical input into the development of House Bill 874, under which maternity hospitals inform women about cord blood banking and arrange for the collection of cord blood.
Hospitals now offering the Dan Berger Cord Blood Program include UPMC Horizon – Shenango Valley, UPMC Mercy and UPMC Northwest. Hospitals working to launch the program include St. Clair Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa.; St. Vincent Health Center, Erie, Pa.; and Indiana Regional Medical Center, Indiana, Pa.

“As more parents recognize that lives are being saved, they are increasingly choosing to donate their babies’ cord blood,” said Carol Berger, wife of the late Dan Berger, whom the program is named. “The stem cells derived from donations of cord blood, which otherwise would have been tossed out, are now responsible for treating and curing many serious diseases.”

The Dan Berger Cord Blood Program is named for the late Dan Berger, a Pittsburgh attorney who underwent a successful stem cell transplant to overcome cancer, but then tragically died of a heart attack in 2006. The program was established by a lead gift from the Berger family in partnership with UPMC Health Plan, Highmark Foundation, the public bank Institute for Transfusion Medicine (the parent company of Pittsburgh’s Central Blood Bank), and private banks Cord Blood Registry, CorCell and ViaCord.

For more information about the Dan Berger Cord Blood Program, visit or call 412-209-7479.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |