Two patients suffering from Leukaemia have undergone lifesaving cord blood transplants thanks to the generosity of two mums who gave birth at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.
More than 3,100 mums have donated cord blood at the London hospital since NHS Blood and Transplant first launched the NHS Cord Blood Bank collection facility in October 2009.
Each donation, made from blood taken from the placenta and umbilical cord following the birth of a baby, is potentially life-saving as it is rich in blood stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow, which can be used to treat many different cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders. Each unit is frozen and can be kept for up to 20 years until it is identified as a potential match for a patient.
Now, three years after the facility first launched, two of the cord blood donations have been issued and successfully transplanted into seriously-ill patients for the first time.
One unit was issued to a 7-year-old boy suffering with Acute Lymphoid Leukaemia and another was issued to a 67-year-old man suffering with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. The cord blood was issued in October and November 2012.
Edward Dobransky, Cord Blood Team Manager for the St George’s Hospital facility, said:
"The chance of finding a potential match for a patient is slim which is why this is a great success story for all of the generous mothers of South East London who have agreed to donate their cord blood. Of course, with more and more donations taking place every day, we expect these to be the first of many success stories in the future.
"With cord blood being drawn from the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby is born, which is normally just discarded, mum and baby are left undisturbed and yet have given seriously-ill patients a second chance of surviving a variety of serious conditions such as cancers of the blood, bone marrow failure and other blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia."
The collection unit at St George’s Hospital is one of six in and around London that provides the NHS Cord Blood Bank with units that can be used to treat patients across the world with life threatening conditions.
The NHS Cord Blood Bank has been collecting, storing and issuing cord blood for transplant since 1996 and currently contains more than 19,500 units of cord blood.
To find out if your local hospital collects cord blood or to register your interest in donating your cord blood, contact 0800 783 5870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information please contact the NHSBT press office number on 01923 367600 or email@example.com
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Notes to editors
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
The RCOG supports public banking and donation to the NHS cord blood bank. The RCOG remains unconvinced about the benefit of storing cord blood with a private bank for families who have no known medical reason to do so.
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