Tag Archive | "thalassemia"

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CordLife Looks to India as a Stem Cell Market

In Kolkata, a top official said that one of the leading stem cell banking groups in the Asia Pacific region, CordLife, is targeting an expansion of its business into China and India.

“We’re looking at India and China as two big markets in terms of our stem cell business in the Asia Pacific region – keeping in mind the huge birth rate in these two countries,”  Steven Fang announced and told IANS on Wednesday during a press conference.  Steven Fang is CordLife group’s chief executive.

“We’re presently in talks with a large number of big government and private hospitals across India to tie up with them for stem cell therapy treatment.”

He mentioned that the company was growing at a rate of 70 percent in terms of its actual client base, and also registered 30 percent growth in its net profit last year.

“Once this stem cell therapy gets commercialized in this country, we’re sure there would be more growth in this particular healthcare sector,” says Fang.

CordLife operates Asia’s largest network of strictly private cord blood banks with full processing and specialized storage facilities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and India.  It has a strong presence throughout the Asia Pacific region as a whole.

The company set up its first storage facility in Kolkata early this year and they have a present capacity of storing about 40k cord blood units with a potential to store as many as 150k cord blood units.

“The total size of India’s stem cell preservation market is about 15,000 units per annum and it’s growing at a rapid pace.  The growth rate has been approximately 42-50 percent per year,” said CordLife managing director Meghnath Roy Chowdhury.

Cord blood has become a very common source of stem cells to be used for transplants.  Permanent cures are possible for some diseases using stem cell therapies.

According to doctors, stem cell therapy can be used for treating various diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, skin trauma,  and certain cancers like leukemia and breast cancer, and blood disorders like thalassemia major.

Umbilical cord blood, which is also called “placental blood”, is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta following a childbirth and after the cord is cut. Cord blood is usually discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord. 

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Cord Blood Controversy – Choosing Private or Public Storage

Cord blood which was considered a waste at one point of time, is now looked as a life-saving entity by many. Many parents decide to preserve cord blood, which is rich in stem cells, and is used to treat more than seventy different diseases such as leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, lymphoma, thalassemia, neuroblastoma, genetic diseases, and immune deficiencies.

Controversy has risen in the recent years as to whether donors should go for public cord blood banks or the private ones. There are several factors which contribute to these sentiments. Some physicians do not recommend donors choose private banks because many of these banks are not standardized.  The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) points the fact that private cord blood banks are beneficial only for those parents whose relative needs a current transplant, but benefit no one else. Private storage is recommended for a family that has a medical history of metabolic disorder. Alternatively the AAP suggests that parents donate to public cord blood banks where cord blood can be made available to many people for treating various diseases. One of the primary reasons for such recommendations is that around ten thousand people are diagnosed with diseases each year and only public cord blood banks provide cord blood globally to any patient who need be treated with cell transplant. Private cord blood banks will provide cord blood only to donors (for their use or their families) who store cord blood for a fee.

Another major reason for physicians not encouraging private cord blood banks is because of the marketing and advertising strategies used by some of these banks. The private banks target every expectant couple and convince them that they are potentially providing a life saving opportunity to their families. This sort of emotional reasoning has worked in many parents to go in for private banks which stores cord blood exclusively for the donor’s use. Even doctors who are convinced by the stem- cell advances encourage parents (who can afford to pay that money) to opt for private banks so that cord blood can be used to save their child’s future or another family member. But there is no correct numbers to quote about the risk of a child needing stem- cell in the future. The APC and ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) studies reveal that numbers would fall anywhere between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 200000, whereas some the private banks have advertised numbers as low as 1 in 2700.

As private cord blood banking is expensive, parents should research which one is best suited for their family’s needs. Some things they should check before going with private cord blood banks are whether the bank is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks, the number of cord blood units it stores, and the number of successful transplants it has conducted with the stored samples and the way it is stored (whether in single unit or small units).

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Posted in Controversy, Cord Blood Banks & Storage, Private Cord Banks, Public Cord Blood Banks, Recent NewsComments (0)

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