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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter

UK stem cell report published

06 December 2010

By Dr Gabrielle Samuel

Appeared in BioNews 587


More than 200 patients' lives could be saved each year following recommendations published in a new report, focusing on improving the availability and quality of stem cell transplants in the UK.

The report recommends increasing the UK umbilical cord blood inventory to a target of 50,000 banked units. More than 400 patients each year in the UK with conditions like leukaemia are unable to receive a stem cell transplant from adult bone marrow or cord blood because they lack a suitable matched unrelated donor, according to a news release about the report.

The report also highlights the benefits of greater engagement with black and minority ethnic donors to increase their representation on donor registries. Currently only 30 to 40 percent of patients from these groups find a matched unrelated donor, compared with around 90 percent of white, Northern European patients.

Other recommendations included improving the performance of UK based stem cell registries; accrediting and centralising stem cell transplant centres; and standardising data collection.

Public Health Minister, Anne Milton, said: 'I very much welcome this high quality review of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood programmes. The recommendations should mean patients needing a transplant get stem cell units as quickly as possible and could mean more patients receiving treatment'.

Lynda Hamlyn, the Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, which led the study, said: 'I am very proud of the report we produced, and committed to continuing to work closely with everyone involved to explore how we can deliver these changes'.

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, which established the world's first bone marrow register, said: 'The publication of this report today is a major step forward and great news for patients. If we are to fulfil Shirley Nolan's vision of a matching donor for every patient needing a transplant, we need a coordinated and strategic, UK-wide approach. We look forward to further details from Government about how it will be progressed'.

The report was commissioned by the Department of Health and involved over forty scientists, clinicians, economists, patient representatives and international experts.


NHSBT | 12/2010
Stem cell Forum | 12/2010


17 October 2011 - by Professor Steven Marsh 
Each year around 2,800 people in the UK have a stem cell transplant, without which they would have shortly faced death, usually from a blood cancer or another blood disorder. The race of a patient is a real factor in how likely they are to match with a donor.... [Read More]
01 August 2011 - by Alison Cranage 
The UK Government has recently announced a £4 million investment in stem cell services. The funding will enable NHS Blood and Transplant and charity Anthony Nolan to work together to increase UK cord blood collection and expand and improve adult stem cell donor registers... [Read More]
13 June 2011 - by Nishat Hyder 
A Glaswegian company has recently launched a new stem cell banking service which offers adults the opportunity to bank stem cells using a newly approved method of extraction and isolation... [Read More]
21 March 2011 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The UK Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB) has announced it has forged an affiliation with the recently established University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry for the exchange of stem cell technology and expertise. The banks will collaborate on various aspects of stem cell banking, including best practice standards and the delivery of stem cell lines for clinical use... [Read More]

06 September 2010 - by Gozde Zorlu 
Stem cell treatments offered by some private, international clinics need tighter regulation, an expert group of doctors, lawyers and bioethicists have warned. Vulnerable patients have spent thousands of pounds on unproven, expensive and risky treatments... [Read More]
31 August 2010 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A ruling of a district federal judge has halted federally-funded embryonic stem cell research in the United States... [Read More]
23 August 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has demanded a federal injunction from the US District Court of the District of Columbia to stop Regenerative Sciences (a Colorado based stem cell clinic) from using patients' own stem cells as medicinal treatment... [Read More]
16 August 2010 - by Dr Helen Busby 
The possibilities presented by the storage or 'banking' of stem cells from umbilical cord blood after birth have attracted considerable public and media interest since the early part of this decade... [Read More]
08 March 2010 - by Harriet Vickers 
A US company has been granted beneficial 'orphan drug' status by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an embryonic stem cell therapy it's developing to treat a rare form of blindness... [Read More]

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