Category Archives: International Tales

International Tales

More Funding on Stem Cell Research

The Kalorama Information declares a rise of over $700 million funding for the market of stem cell technologies this 2012. The exploration of human stem cell research will expand its scope and it will continue to investigate the numerous benefits of cord blood banking as a source of revenue growth. The study on umbilical cord blood is considered as the least controversial source of stem cells but its process of collection is supported by many health experts and public organizations.

A healthcare market research expects that the funding can reach over $1 billion.

Australia Needs More Cord Blood

AusCord is an Australian cord blood bank funded by the government. For the reason that it does not provide cord blood for research purposes unless it is needed for clinical use, insufficient supply is experienced by numerous medical researchers in Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Dr. Iona Novak is the head of the said association and she sincerely encourages more parents to store their newborn’s umbilical cord in private banks. The procedure costs around $3000 and if the numbers of stored units will improve, the research on stem cell research will also get a boost.

”We know that, at the moment, there are about 40 children with cerebral palsy with their own blood banked in Australia, which is not that much to do a study with,” Dr Novak said.

Mark Kirkland is an associate professor in CellCare, a private blood bank. He confirms that there are few privately banked cord blood samples in Australia and these units must be used for research.

”There’s been a lot of negativity around the idea of storing your child’s own cord blood because these are unproven treatments. But it’s a catch-22 – you can’t do the trials because you haven’t stored your child’s blood.”

Dr. Ngaire Elwood is the chairwoman of AusCord and she will look closer into the situation and will find a way to meet the needs of stem cell research once the system for utilization is fixed.

”For the next four years it’s felt that we are generally meeting the needs of the Australian population.”

India: Soon to be The Largest Hub of Cord Blood Units

There will be a time when India shall not only the hub of outsourcing businesses but it will also be the largest collector of umbilical cord blood in the world.

This is due to two reasons:

1) High number of annual births and
2) Its vast genetic diversity

As of the moment, there are twelve licensed cord blood banks in the country and three of this number belongs to the public sector. This is quite a small number to start into, especially for public donation, but the collected samples already reached as high as 50,000 in October.

The demand for cord blood has been on the rise but recent surveys show the number of cord blood transplants in India is very low. This is primarily because of the cost. The entire transplant procedure is very expensive and a lot of people can’t afford it. The country’s government must also expand the limited number of facilities for the preservation of stem cells.

What Is A Cord Blood Repository Like In India?

Indian Cord blood donations…what’s it like there?

Quite simply, cord blood is the remaining blood from a baby’s umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Cord blood is loaded with our “stem cells” which are origins of the body’s immune and blood system and may be the origin of other organs and important systems in the body. Stem cells are important because they have the ability to regenerate into other types of cells in the body.

A few years ago, cord blood was simply discarded as medical waste after a birth. However in the past few years doctors have recognized that the stem cells have unique qualities which can be used in treatment of certain cancers. The most common medical use is for transplantation in many situations where bone marrow is considered. In the future, it is possible that scientists will discover more diseases that can be cured with cord blood.

In India the repository for cord blood is certainly looking up. In India cord blood storage has been available in major hospitals across the country for some time. The biggest cord blood repository in India and also the first one to commence commercial operations was Reliance life Sciences (RLS). RLS was incorporated in 2001 and since then it has invested $5 million and has plans to pump in $25 million into the centre over the next few years. According to Mukesh Ambani, chairman, Reliance Industries Limited ‘‘the stem cell-rich cord blood repository is an investment we are making for the future in order to be able to bring about an era of regenerative medicine’’.

Close on the heels on the heels of reliance life sciences commencing its commercial operation of its cord blood repository, another Pune based health care provider Ruby Hall Medical Research Centre, a subsidiary of Pune-based Ruby Hall Clinic, announced a 49:51 joint venture with Denmark-based biotechnology company Mesibo, with an aim to establish India’s largest cord blood storage facility at Pune. But unlucky its Denmark based went bust; the company is looking for a new partner, as per the company sources its talking to a Belgian company for opening a cord blood repository in India.