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US hospital-biotechnology partnership to offer stem cell banking

13 March 2007
Appeared in BioNews 398

A hospital in the US has teamed up with a biotechnology company to allow pregnant women to bank their baby's cord blood and placental stem cells in what is thought to be the first official programme to encourage stem cell banking in the country. The Saint Barnabas Medical Center, based in Livingston, New Jersey, entered into partnership with LifebankUSA, to launch the program targeting expectant couples.

Richard Miller, who heads the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Barnabas, has emphasised that the programme is designed to allow women the choice to bank stem cells as part of the standard educational advice offered by the hospital to expectant parents. 'This is not something we are going to push them to buy', he said, adding 'we hope to make this part of their health care choice'. Lifebank is a subsidiary of biotechnology company Celgene, which charges thousands of dollars to extract and bank stem cells. Miller says the program is designed 'for those who are willing to make that investment today for the promise of very exciting potential therapies in the future'.

In the UK, Richard Branson recently launched the 'Virgin Health Bank' as part of his Virgin empire to offer stem cell storage for a fee of £1,500. Parents will be given the option to store their new born baby's cord blood stem cells for twenty years in 'dual banking'. The cells will be stored in a private bank - for the use of the donor's family - and a public bank, where cells will be available for anyone to access.

Hospital offers option for storing stem cells from cord, placenta
The Star-Ledger |  7 March 2007
New Jersey Hospital Launches Program Encouraging Expectant Couples To Bank Adult Stem Cells
Kaiser Network |  8 March 2007
10 December 2012 - by Paola Quattroni 
Ten drugs companies and 23 European universities will work to develop a stem cell bank that researchers will use in fundamental disease research and to test potential new medicines...
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...
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...
5 February 2007 - by Khadija Ibrahim 
Sir Richard Branson has launched a new company under his Virgin brand which will offer umbilical cord blood banking facilities to parents of newborn babies. Cord blood transfusions are already used for the treatment of blood related disorders but some believe that umbilical cord blood, which is...
20 October 2006 - by Dr Karen Devine 
Once again, umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cell collection and storage has been in the headlines of the popular press. UCB can be collected at birth and stored for the future use of the donor, its siblings or donated for public use. There are two main types of banking - public...
15 October 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
UK obstetrician Leroy Edozien has called for new mothers to be discouraged from privately banking their babies' cord blood immediately after birth. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Mr Edozien, of St Mary's Hospital Manchester, warns that consenting procedures and collecting blood for private banking puts further...
18 June 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl 
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has issued an updated version of its Scientific Opinion Paper on Umbilical Cord Blood Banking. The report finds that there is little evidence to recommend the practice whereby private companies collect and store umbilical cord blood for up to...
15 June 2006 - by Dr Karen Devine 
This week saw the long awaited report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), which stated its latest position on the public and private banking of umbilical cord blood stem cells. Essentially, their stance remains unchanged from the one taken in their previous opinion paper published in 2001...
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