Aishwarya Rai Bachchan launches LifeCell’s umbilical cord public stem cell bank

LifeCell’s celebrates milestone achievement of preserving 1,00,000 umbilical cord stem cell units

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Chennai, July 27, 2014:

LifeCell, India’s largest and most accredited stem cell bank today announced the successful preservation of 1,00,000 umbilical cord stem cell units at its facility in Chennai – the first stem cell bank in the country to achieve this significant customer base.

On the occasion of this significant achievement, LifeCell today announced launch of its umbilical cord public stem cell bank. This initiative of LifeCell is aimed to help patients in need of a lifesaving stem cell transplant improve their odds of finding matching stem cells.

To launch the public banking initiative and commemorate the milestone achievement Ms. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, LifeCell’s goodwill ambassador and patron, visited the facility and experienced the company’s advanced processing and preservation standards.

Umbilical cord blood banking is today regarded as an essential service globally wherein the precious stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord blood and preserved at cryogenic conditions in order to maintain its utility for decades. These umbilical cord blood stem cells offer higher chances of finding a match compared to bone marrow stem cells, and are readily available at the time of need.

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.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Mayur Abhaya, MD & CEO, LifeCell said “The acute shortage of stem cells from the Indian donor pool for transplants was brought into highlight last year when Dr Nalini Ambady – a distinguished professor of Indian origin at Harvard and later at Stanford, succumbed to blood cancer [leukemia] as she could not find a matching cord blood unit and her matching bone marrow donor refused to make a donation. Taking up the cause, LifeCell in presence of Dr Eliane Gluckman – the doctor who conducted the world’s first successful cord blood transplant – announced its intent to set up a public cord blood bank. With the launch of the same today that commitment is now fulfilled”.

LifeCell with its launch has seeded the creation of the country’s largest public stem cell bank by sponsoring an inventory of 1000 donor units to begin with, and is in the process of securing more commitments from donors and institutions in order to reach its goal within the next 3-5 years.

Mr.V.Ravi Shankar, CMO, LifeCell, commenting on the roll-out plans said “We are in the process of tying up with public and private healthcare institutions across the country to source cord blood in order to ensure good genetic diversity. The units stored with LifeCell shall meet international quality standards such as those prescribed by the AABB [formerly American Association of Blood Banks] and FACT [Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapies] thereby enabling treatments to take place outside India too. Also these units shall be listed in global registries such as the NMDP [National Marrow Donor Program] providing access to this valuable resource not just for those residing in India but also the Indian diaspora living abroad.”

LifeCell’s brand ambassador Ms.Aishwarya Rai Bachchan said “I am convinced about the potential of umbilical cord stem cells to renew the health and lives of people. Hence, the decision to bank my daughter’s umbilical cord stem cell’s was natural. This is the best gift I can give her as a parent. I’m truly happy that LifeCell being a leader in this space, having achieved a significant traction in the private banking space, is laying the foundation towards creating the country’s largest repository of umbilical cord blood stem cells. I hope that in the near future, patients in the country do not have to look too far to access the power of stem cells”

About LifeCell:

Established in 2004, LifeCell is India’s first and largest stem cell bank, enjoying the trust of over 1,00,000 parents who have banked their children’s stem cells with the company. With state-of-the-art facilities and a spread over 100 centers in the country and footprints in GCC countries, LifeCell is also the most recommended stem cell bank by gynecologists. The company has accreditations from international organizations for standards such as American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), College of American Pathologists (CAP), WHO & National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL). LifeCell is also the only player in the industry providing comprehensive stem cell solutions including menstrual stem cell banking, R&D and point-of-care stem cell therapy for orthopedic, vascular specialties. For more information log on to www.lifecell.in.