New Delhi: Leading stem cell research organization Mycord, an initiave of Cellugen Biotech, is redefining umbilical cord blood banking in India by introducing the Mycord Precious Pool Plan, a new concept that will create a large private pool of umbilical cord blood units. The pool will allow its members, access to other best matched cord blood samples, rather than just their own.
The initiative is a revolutionary break from the current practice of private cord blood banks that allow a person access to only their own cord blood, making stem cell transplants unviable in a majority of cases. However, Mycord is not just a cord blood bank; it also proposes to utilize the banked cord blood, cord tissue and amniotic membrane for potential therapeutic use.
At a press conference in New Delhi on November 23rd to educate the public about the need for banking, the precious resource of umbilical cord, doctors and researchers discussed how Mycord Precious Pool Plan can revolutionize the treatment of hematological disorders in India for those who decide to bank their cord and become a part of the pool in the time of need. It was also emphasized that as the pool continues to grow, so does the likelihood of finding the best matched cord.
Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant (UCBT) has gained popularity as an efficacious treatment modality for various malignant and non-malignant hematological disorders, since the first successful UCBT was done in France in 1988. More than 35,000 successful cord blood transplants have since been performed worldwide .
There are at least 142 public and 25 private UCB banks the world over with 3 public and 7 private banks located in India. In India, insufficient quantity of just about 5000 cord blood units are available in public banks.The chance of obtaining a matched donor for an Indian recipient from foreign registries is meager due to ethnicity and exorbitant cost. Till date, only 32 patients have received a transplant using related or unrelated UCB.
“Private stem cell banks have been growing in India with parents investing over 500 crores annually to protect their newborn against blood-related disorders. Unfortunately, the private banks have been propagating that one’s own cord blood stem cells can be used in more for more than 80 medical problems, which is not true. The fact is that the possibility of utilizing one’s own UCB for transplant in blood related disorders is less than 5 percent. This futility of storage of UCB for self-use is well recognized by the medical fraternity today. To make umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants a viable option, accessing another person’s cord blood (allogenic) is the best solution,” Dr S P Yadav Pediatric Hematologist, Medanta Hospital. As India has limited cord blood units available in the public domain, Mycord’s Precious Pool Plan serves to fill this void.
“Mycord aims to redefine this through the Mycord Precious Pool Plan (MPPP)’. Mycord advocates that all cord blood units stored as part of private banking be made available in a cord blood pool to find the best matched cord blood unit forall clients. This is done at no additional cost of procuring a cord which otherwise, if available in a public bank is very expensive. This unique advantage shall be most beneficial to the precious child whose cord has been banked” explains Mr Lalit Jaiswal, Founder-Director, CelluGen Biotech.
In addition to umbilical cord blood, Mycord also stores Umbilical cord tissue, Amniotic Membrane and the remaining umbilical cord (direct cord storage) for exclusive personal use of the client for emerging therapeutic applications.
Umbilical Cord tissue derived stem cells find potential use in treatment of various degenerative disorders of the nervous system, osteoarthritis, optic nerve atrophy, diabetes etc, to name a few.Mycord adheres to the practice of isolating tissue stem cells before storage to ensure potency and viability of the cells at the time of use.
Amniotic Membrane – is yet another novel technology Mycord is laying emphasis on. Amniotic membrane (AM) is the innermost layer of the placenta, innately designed as a natural barrier to protect the foetus from potential bacterial and viral infections. Mycord has introduced for the first time in India, technological excellence in collecting, processing and storage of amniotic membranes. This has a tremendous potential for skin regeneration following scars burns etc.
Evidence based medicine is cornerstone of all medical research. Mycord in their booklet –‘Private Umbilical cord blood banking redefined’ has given scientific evidence clarifying the fallacies of Private Umbilical cord blood banking.