Coimbatore: With huge requirement of cord blood to carry out stem cell therapy on Cancer and Thalassemia affected children in India, a woman`s centre here today joined hands with a stem Cell Bank to create awareness on umbilical cord blood donations among families expecing a baby soon.
Umbilical cord blood, discarded after childbirth, is one of the richest sources of blood forming stem cells and has been used worldwide for over two decades for treating children with blood cancer, blood disorders and Thalassemia, Dr P Srinivasan, Co-founder and Chairman of the Cell Bank told reporters here today.
Stating that nearly 1.20 lakh people are diagnosed with cancer every year in India, with 30 per cent being children and 10,000 Thalassemia cases reported annually, Srinivasan said many children`s lives could be saved if people donated cord blood.
Human Leucocyte Antigen matching of donor and recipient was critical to the success of transplant of stem cells and matching was dependent on the ethnicity of the patient and donor, he said.
Since there is no Indian Inventory of sufficient size, there was less than 10 per cent chances of an Indian finding a match is less that 10 per cent across the world. Even if they are lucky to find one, it would cost the patient close to Rs 20 lakh to import them, whereas if a bank was started in India at least 60 to 70 per cent of the patients can find match, Srinivasan said.
The Women`s Centre and Jeevan aim to create sufficient awareness on cold blood donation to collect 2,000 cord blood donations in the next two years and this program, supported by a grant from Tamil Nadu Government will help children to find an easy match for further treatment, Centre`s Clinican Director, Dr Mirudhubhashini, said.
As far as Tamil Nadu government`s grant of Rs nine crore, it wanted to collect 3,000 cord blood units in three years, of which 75 per cent would be utilised for free treatment of children and the remaining would be given for affordable cost to sustain the program.