Growing Swiftly: LifeCell’s cord blood donor stem cell units surges past 10,000
Donor Stem cells preserved under community stem banking doubles in just two months
Chennai, 31st October, 2017:
India accounts for more than 25 million babies that are born every year. Despite being a high birthing nation, the availability of umbilical cord stem cells for patients needing them for treatments is still very low.
India was estimated to have more than one lakh cases of leukemia in 2010 with the number only increasing over the years. While umbilical cord blood has great potential to treat such conditions, there are certain critical factors that still limit the availability of donor stem cells units. Firstly, the number of cord blood units preserved with public banks in India is collectively around 5,000 only over many years. Secondly, the cost of procurement of these stem cells from a public bank, even if a match is found, could range between Rs.15 lakhs to 20 lakhs per unit making it unaffordable for many. Hence over 70% of patients requiring matching donor stem cells are left in despair with a huge unmet demand. According to an ICMR sponsored study, only when the inventory of stem cells increases to >250,000 would every patient have a high probability of finding a matching donor stem cell unit. Hence there has always been a dire need for a large inventory of donor stem cells to meet the growing demand.
Fuelling this thought, LifeCell launched BabyCord Share - Community stem cell banking earlier this year which works on the concept of sharing of stem cells amongst a community of families banking their baby’s stem cells with LifeCell. In August 2017, LifeCell announced that its community stem cell registry has recorded preservation of over 5,000 qualified units available for sharing with an unrelated patient within the community thus surpassing the collective number of available samples across all public banks in the country.
In yet another landmark achievement, LifeCell today announced that they have doubled this inventory size within two months surpassing 10,000 units of donor stem cells now available within the community.
Speaking on this achievement Mr Mayur Abhaya, MD & CEO, LifeCell said “We are seeing an encouraging trend from parents who are joining our community stem cell banking. With this growing trend LifeCell is eyeing to transform the stem cell inventory and cost situation. I can assure that within the next few years our inventory will surpass global benchmarks where every family member under our Community Stem Cell Banking could find a well matched cord blood unit when required.”
LifeCell, established in 2004, is India’s leading provider of preventive healthcare services for family wellness, such as stem cell banking and diagnostic testing, with facilities at Chennai & Gurgaon with a network spanning over 200 cities in India and abroad.
BabyCord, LifeCell’s umbilical cord stem cell preservation services, is world’s second largest with over 50,000 parents preserving their baby’s stem cells with it each year and over 2,00,000 parents already having trusted LifeCell. With the recent launch of BabyCord Share, a community-based approach towards stem cell access, is a global first and aims to provide families in India better future access to stem cells than even currently possible in advanced countries such as the US. LifeCell’s processing, storage and testing facilities are the most accredited having received recognitions from domestic and global bodies such as the AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks), College of American Pathologists, National Accreditation Board for Laboratories, World Health Organization, amongst many others, and is also US FDA registered.
BabyShield, LifeCell’s preventive genetic screening and diagnostic testing services, is India’s market leader for newborn screening services and recently forayed into prenatal screening.