The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is all set to launch a stem cell bank. The bank, first of its kind in Doha, will be set up at Al Amal Hospital soon, according to an HMC official.
Stem Cells are found in most multi-cellular organisms. They are characterised by their ability to renew themselves through cell division and differentiating into specialised cell types. Stem cells used in treatment have the potential to change the face of human diseases and alleviate suffering. They have a large potential to culture tissues that can replace diseased and damaged tissues in the body, without the risk of rejection.
“The stem cell bank or the Cell Therapy Unit is part of establishing a world class laboratory and storage facility at Al Amal Hospital,” said Dr Nasser Al Ansari, Chairman, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, HMC.
“The hospital is working to establish a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) laboratory. GMP takes a holistic approach of regulating the manufacturing and laboratory testing environment itself, since the end results of research depend on all these. This facility will be followed by a Cord Blood Bank,” he told The Peninsula. The laboratory building with sophisticated equipment is mainly intended for bone marrow storage.
“These facilities can also be used for storing stem cells and hence it was introduced. The budget for the GMP lab is already approved. We are still to call tenders for companies specialising in the field.” “The programme will be in association with a foreign university. Many blood researches are being carried out with the cooperation of Heidelberg University, Germany.”
“It is too early to decide which source will be mainly used. It will be as per the wishes of the donor. We will also be setting up a Cord Blood Banking system soon after,” said Al Ansari A cord blood bank is a facility which stores umbilical cord blood for future use. Cord blood contains stem cells, which can form red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Cord blood cells are currently used to treat blood and immune system related genetic diseases, cancers and blood disorders.
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