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.