Kolkata Begins to Preserve Umbilical Cord Blood

by Savitha C Muppala on  January 21, 2009 at 11:42 PM Indian Health News   - G J E 4
 Kolkata Begins to Preserve Umbilical Cord Blood
Banking a baby's cord bood at birth may be a lasting gift for children which can help during extreme illness.

This gift would ensure treatment against diseases like leukemia, Alzheimer, breast cancer, diabetes and Parkinson's for your baby in future.

Umbilical cord blood is the blood which remains in the umbilical cord after birth of the baby. It is the richest source of adult stem cells which is collected, processed and cryogenically stored for future use if required.

This blood provides a ready source of genetically matched stem cells which could be used for the entire family in treatment of over 80 diseases, including blood and breast cancer, blood disorders like Thalassemia, Anemia, several kinds of malignant Lymphomas like Hodgkin's Disease and other immuno-deficiencies.

Eastern India, where there is a high incidence of diseases like Thalassemia and Diabetes, has now got a facility near Kolkata to store cord blood. The facility has been set up by CordLife Sciences India Pvt. Ltd, a majority owned subsidiary of Australia's CordLife Ltd, is a joint venture with its Indian equity partner Strassenburg Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

This is CordLife's first such facility in India . It already operates the largest network of cord blood banks in the Asia Pacific with stem cell processing and storage units in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

This state of the art Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking laboratory is situated on 20,000 sq ft at Bishnupur in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Built as per international standards, the building is designed to withstand any natural calamity. It can store up to 1,50,000 cord blood samples which is scalable up to few lacs with minimum alterations.

According to Meghnath Roy Choudhury, MD, CordLife Sciences India Pvt. Ltd, the initial storage cost would be Rs 38000 and then Rs 3600 annually as storage fees. Parents can also opt to pay Rs 70,000 one time for 18 years, after which the baby can decide to extend the storage lease.

Indians have high incidence of diseases like Diabetes and Heart ailments, in the treatment of which cord blood can be a godsend, Mr Roy Choudhury says, adding, the company is committed to investing about Rs 30 crore to make stem cell therapy a reality, and cord blood banking accessible throughout India.

The potential of these stem cells, according to Dr Mark Kirkland, Haematologist and Associate Professor, University of Melboure, are far higher because they prevent 'Graft vs Host Disease', a common phenomenon after a transplant where the transplanted cells are recognized as foreign bodies and attacked by the existing cells of the body receiving the transplant.

Stem Cells are the Master Cells of the human body which have unique properties like Self Renewal - the ability to subdivide and produce new and more stem cells and Differentiation - the ability to differentiate into various types of other mature cells fo the human body. Though adult stem cells are available from three different sources - Peripheral Blood, Bone Marrow and Umbilical Cord Blood, the cord blood stem cells have the highest potential as they are the youngest cells. The collection of cord blood stem cells is a painless process and takes only a few minutes without causing any harm to the mother or child.

In the context of an old adage - if health is lost, everything is lost... Any baby would prefer that its parents store its Cord Blood in the bank rather than cash Fixed Deposits. After all, the latter can be acquired if health remains safeguarded.

Source: ANI

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