If International Parents’ Day is about paying tribute to parents and parenthood, LifeCell made its tribute to Indian parents in a very special way. On International Parents’ Day 2014, LifeCell launched its public umbilical cord stem cell bank giving expectant parents the opportunity to make the birth of their child poignant by donating their child’s umbilical cord stem cells.
The need for a public stem cell bank
In developed countries like the US, with a large inventory of public cord blood units and supported by a registry of millions of bone marrow donors, over 70% of the local populace are able to find matching stem cell units for treatments.
In India the situation is reverse with >70% of the patients are unable to find a match.
The comparison chart below gives an overview of the stem cell asset base in the country:
This acute shortage of stem cell resources in the country was brought to highlight when in October 2013, Harvard Professor Dr.Nalini Ambady lost her battle against blood cancer as she could not find a matching umbilical cord stem cell unit and her matching bone marrow donor refused to make a donation.
In November 2013, in the presence of Dr.Eliane Gluckman who performed the world’s first successful umbilical cord stem cell transplant, LifeCell launched a fundraiser project towards establishment of a public umbilical cord stem cell bank. With the launch of the public stem cell bank, the commitment stands fulfilled.
Creating Social Impact Through The Power of Stem Cells
LifeCell, through LifeCell Foundation would work towards addressing the dearth of the stem cell assets in the country by setting up the public stem cell bank. At a project outlay of Rs.30 crores, the foundation aims to create an inventory of 10000 public stem cell units.
60% of the funds for the project have been acquired – with LifeCell being the anchor donor of Rs.10 crores, donation of Rs.2.5 crores each from LifeCell’s honourable founders Mr.R.Thyagarajan & Mr.Abhaya Kumar and a collective contribution of Rs.2.5 crores from undisclosed philanthropic donors. The foundation will seek to raise further funds through institutions and donors.
LifeCell Public Stem Cell Bank – The Vision The Way Forward
Through tie-ups and associations with the extensive country-wide hospital network that LifeCell enjoys, the public bank will create the repository of the public umbilical cord stem cell units. Upon reaching the milestone of 500 numbers, the units will be listed on a registry which will help patients search for a matching unit.
LifeCell would utilize its existing state-of-the-art infrastructure for processing and preserving the public units. Highest quality standards compliant with compliant with AABB (Formerly American Association of Blood Banks) & FACT (Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapies) will be employed, enabling treatments to take place outside India.