Clients who pay for the process as well as the storage see this as a good investment if they can afford it. The company as noted in the article is not going to rake in huge profits but rather provide the service to those who want it. The obvious choice with umbilical cord cells is that they are young. So far the company has stored over 76,000 blood samples and just 16 have been released for treatment. The potential for treatment will grow as donors get older.
Some hospitals in Germany do not even have the facilities to wash the cells so the answer of having a mobile unit solves that part of the puzzle and this also standardizes the preparation of the transplants. The cells may be the answer to treating cancer, diabetes and more but the preparation is the part that needs to be done correctly, otherwise later on when needed, the cells collected could be useless. BD
In the squeaky clean medical compound of Vita 34 near central Leipzig, a constant hissing fills the room as vapors pour from liquid nitrogen tanks. At -196 degrees Celsius, blood samples from umbilical cords can be stored for a lifetime.
The blood is taken shortly after a mother gives birth. Parents' hope and expectation is that if the child develops certain diseases later on in life, the stem cells can be used in treatment. This method is said to be safer than chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.
Vita 34's chief physician Eberhard Lampeter said stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood have one decisive advantage: They are young.
Gerhard Ehninger, chairman of the German Society for Hematology and Oncology, said the chances of actually profiting from the scheme are minimal - at least for the time being.