Cord blood donation highlighted
Dubai, November 3, 2013
The Dubai Cord Blood and Research Centre is advocating the importance of public donation of cord blood stem cells to help form a substantial registry of stem cells for the UAE.
Fatma Al Hashimi, head of Education and Development Unit at DCRC, said: “Since the inception of this centre in 2006, we have seen a steady increase in the awareness levels among the public about cord blood banking and this has directly attributed to an increase in the number of people who save their cord blood at our cord blood bank.
“However, we need to raise awareness that cord blood stem cells can be donated. Presently, more than 80 diseases can be cured with the help of stem cells and this includes leukaemia and treatment of genetic disorders such as thalassemia.”
Many Arab families are in need of cord blood and the centre is sometimes unable to find a match with the same ethnic diversity, she said.
“Therefore, the DCRC encourages families to donate cord blood stem cells so that we have a strong UAE public registry to help people in need. Stem cells are the future of medicine and public banking is a trend that is catching on globally due to the several diseases stem cells can cure.”
She added that the centre has 3000 units collected, of which six were released for patients who needed them for life-saving transplantations.
One of the units was used for a five year old girl, who suffered from thalassemia. The cord blood collected at the time of birth of her younger brother proved to be a match and in 2012 she went to UK for transplantation.
“Today she is free of thalassemia. Prior to this procedure, she had to undergo regular blood transfusions,” said Hashemi.
She added that in 2012, since the establishment of the education department at DCRC, more than 700 units were collected, which is almost double the number of units collected in 2011. “This shows the direct impact of health education”, said Hashemi.
“Today, mothers are aware of the benefit this simple procedure has and they understand that it is a form of health insurance for their families, which is why we are seeing a steady rise in the number of women who opt for cord blood collection at the time of birth.”
She highlighted that the centre provides a tour for pregnant women and families interested in preserving stem cells for their families or for the purpose of donation. - TradeArabia News Service