JEDDAH - The Jeddah Cord Blood and Research Center, a new blood bank specializing in the storage of stem cells contained in the umbilical cord and placental blood of newborn infants, will be established in Jeddah next year, according to Mohammed Iskandrani, the project’s Executive Director.
Iskandrani said that the bank would guarantee that storage is carried out according to international standards, and that the stored cells were the sole property of the child and his/her parents and would not be used for research.
The placenta and umbilical cord provide nourishment and protection for the developing fetus throughout the gestation period. Scientists have discovered the potential benefits of the undifferentiated stem cells found in the blood contained in these tissues which are discarded following birth.
“As a result,” Iskandrani told the Saudi Gazette, “thousands of parents all over the world are preserving the umbilical cord blood of their newborn children.
The benefits of cord blood lie in the rich source of stem cells it contains. In just the last ten years, this medical breakthrough has been responsible for saving the lives of thousands of children.”
“Cord blood stem cells,” he explained, “are used for treating many diseases amongst which are malignancies, such as, leukemia, blood disorders, such as, sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, immunodeficiencies, such as, Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, and inherited metabolism disorders, such as Gaucher’s Disease.”
Moreover, cord blood stem cells hold the promise of future treatment of other diseases, such as, Parkinson’s, and the repair of brain damage and the construction of blood vessels.
The Jeddah Cord Blood and Research Centre will provide future parents with the possibility of collecting and storing umbilical cord blood stem cells easily and painlessly, without any contact with the newborn or the mother.
Collection is carried out after birth by the gynecologist, and a scientific team undertakes the processing and storage of the baby’s umbilical cord blood.
Soon after the child’s birth, blood from the umbilical cord is collected in a special sterile blood bag found in the collection kit provided by the bank. The entire process takes less than ten minutes.
The collected sample is placed in a protective bag inside the kit, which in turn is sent by courier to a banking facility in Dubai.