Sri Ramachandra University has signed an agreement with Jeevan Blood Bank to promote cord blood banking for the next three years.
Sometime ago, Jeevan received a grant from the State to set up a public cord blood bank that helps find the right match for adults and children who need stem cell transplants for cancers of blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes.
Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells and is used for the treatment of blood disorders, cancers and thalassemia. It is important to get a perfect human leucocyte antigen (HLA) match for the patient to be assured of good results. It is difficult to find a perfect HLA match, as this depends on the ethnicity of the patient and the donor. Since India does not have an inventory, patients sometimes have to look around the world for a perfect match, making it an expensive venture.
Paediatric haemato-oncologist Julius Scott, a senior consultant at SRU said, “There are around 7,000 deliveries in the hospital annually and if we can store the cord blood then, we should be able to find a better match instead of the patient having to spend Rs. 20 lakh on importing cord blood. We will act as facilitators in the programme. It is a community-based programme which will benefit the hospital when it starts conducting stem cell transplants in the future. Jeevan Blood Bank will provide counsellors who will speak to parents and get their consent.”
The University also signed an agreement with NGO Ekam Foundation to train healthcare professionals, nurses and paramedical personnel in the neonatal, paediatric and obstetrics departments.