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LifeCell launches Cord Tissue Banking in India

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LifeCell International – India’s first & the largest stem cell banking service provider and a pioneer in stem cell research, technology & therapy – announced the launch of Umbilical cord tissue banking service in India. The technology to harness the potential of Umbilical Cord Tissue, a rich source of Mesenchymal stem cells was developed in-house at the LifeCell R&D center at Chennai., India. With this launch, LifeCell achieved a considerable technology landmark in the field of Regenerative science & healthcare industry in India.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) from bone marrow have been at the forefront of therapeutic strategies for a number of hitherto incurable ailments like Heart Disease, Type I Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, GVHD, Osteoarthritis and Stroke. Further, MSCs from Cord tissue showed additional therapeutic potential in animal models to treat Parkinsonism, Skeletal muscle injury, Limb ischemia, Retinal nerve degeneration. Hence, these cord tissue MSCs appear to be superior to bone marrow MSCs and can be a potential substitute for them.

Advantages of Mesenchymal Stemcells:

In a unit population of cells MSCs in the umbilical cord tissue are present in much higher numbers when compared with the bone marrow. These cells have shorter doubling time. Also the HLA ABC antigens are less of an issue with cord MSCs when compared with bone marrow MSCs.

Talking at the occasion,
Mr. Mayur Abhaya, President and Executive Director, LifeCell International, said, “We at LifeCell are very excited about this landmark achievement that we have made at our R&D center, by developing the technology to harvest and store Umbilical Cord Tissue in India. With additional service of cord tissue banking, , clinical trials, R&D, therapy solutions we are the only company in India providing comprehensive stem cells solutions. This will give us a competitive edge to tap the potential market. In a country like India with over 40 million births every year, the potential is immense and we see a huge opportunity ahead. We envision a 30% percent growth in our enrolments by 2010. Our revenue for this year is expected to close by Rs.400 Million.”

According to Dr. Ajit, Chief Scientific Officer, LifeCell International, “Previously, after the collection of the umbilical cord blood, the remaining solid cord tissue was normally discarded. However, this cord tissue is a rich source of Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and we have invested two years of time in developing and validating a proprietary technology at our in-house R&D center for collection and storage of the cord tissue. These MSCs from cord tissue are superior to bone marrow MSCs, as these cells are fetal in nature and therefore more robust. Besides, the collection process is non invasive, painless and usually devoid of infection.” Added Dr. Ajit

Over the conversation about the awareness and acceptance of stem cells in India Mr. Mayur added, “Recent success stories of stem cells, daily news on research findings and breakthrough in clinical trials etc., are validating the potential of stem cells thereby increasing the demand for storing the baby’s stem cell for future potential use. The medical fraternity has been playing a vital role in supporting and spreading knowledge and awareness on this concept.”

Storing and cost at LifeCell

Customers who want to store their cord tissue have a range of options with LifeCell. They may choose to bank the processed stem cells from the Cord Tissue for a ready use or store the cord tissue which can be used to harvest stem cells later for therapy.

Preserving the cord tissue comes as a package along with cord blood banking service of LifeCell at a cost of Rs.44,600/- for the first year and Rs.3,500/- every year as annual storage fee. However, if the client prefers to process the cord tissue and store the harvested stem cells, the process will cost Rs.63,100/- for the first year and Rs.5,500/- every year as annual storage fee. Both these options include processing and cryo-preserving the cord blood stem cells which is the basic service. Clients could also go for the option of one-time storage fee of Rs.79,000/- upfront for storing cord blood and cord tissue and Rs.1,17,500 for storing cord blood along with processing of cord tissue.

LifeCell’s key differentiator has been quality and service and with a technology tie-up with the Cryo-Cell International, the world’s first stem cell bank, LifeCell has the expertise of technology to maintain the best quality which has also been acknowledged and accredited by AABB. LifeCell offers round-the-clock service and is the only stem cell bank in India offering this service to over 40 centres in India & abroad.

 


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Creator of “mini liver” & Cryo-Save Scientific director Prof. McGuckin to visit India

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020209-1537-profcolinmc1.jpgCryo-Save India today announced that their new Scientific Director Professor Colin McGuckin, will be visiting India between February 27 and March 3, 2009. Prof. McGuckin, who made a medical breakthrough in 2005 with the creation of the world’s first “mini liver” from umbilical cord blood, will share his plans on integrating new scientific technologies which may substantially speed up treatments for life-threatening illnesses, injuries and disabilities. Cryo-Save India, who has taken the initiative to organize the Professor’s visit, believes that this will act as an impetus for people in India to accept stem cell banking as a new form of health protection for the future.

During his visit, Prof. McGuckin will engage with regulatory authorities to share information that will shape future direction and progress in cord blood banking and advances in patient treatments. He will also talk about his latest discoveries in Regenerative Medicine, including his recent creation of the world’s first artificial pancreas, which may have important implications in diabetes.

Prof McGuckin, who has recently been appointed as Scientific Director for Cryo-Save, will be travelling to Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

Armed with 20 years of experience in stem cells, Professor McGuckin is an opinion leader who has been called upon by governments and hospitals around the world. He is also President of the Novus Sanguis Consortium, which brings together leading adult stem cell researchers and clinicians from across the world to work on specific diseases of the human condition, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and organ degeneration.

Prof. Colin McGuckin Is Cryo-Save Group’s New Scientific Director

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Cryo-Save Group, Europe’s Largest Adult Stem Cell Banking Company announced the appointment of its new Scientific Director, Professor Colin McGuckin. In his new role, Professor McGuckin will be responsible for integrating new scientific technologies and keeping Cryo-Save’s storage services at the leading edge.

Professor McGuckin has made several advancements in stem cells including the creation of a “mini liver” from the umbilical cord blood, nervous tissues and blood vessels from cord blood cells as well as “pancreatic islets” – a major producer of insulin for treating diabetes amongst others.

Armed with 20 years of experience in stem cells, Professor McGuckin is an opinion leader who has been called upon by governments and hospitals around the world. He is also President of the Novus Sanguis Consortium, which brings together leading adult stem cell researchers and clinicians from across the world to work on specific diseases of the human condition, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and organ degeneration.

Professor McGuckin stated, “My vocation is to treat patients with umbilical cord blood and I believe Cryo-Save, with their innovative and responsible program for storing cord blood will help achieve this goal faster, for more patients on an international scale.”

Rob Koremans, CEO, Cryo-Save said, “Prof. McGuckin’s recruitment is an auxiliary step in our efforts to put Cryo-Save at the forefront of the global stem cell market place. Gaining such tremendous scientific know how will help sustain financial security and contributions to patients”.


Cryo-Save India forays into the Western region

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Cryo-Save India, the 100% Indian subsidiary of Cryo-Save Group, announced their foray into the western region of the country by launching a full-fledged marketing set-up in Mumbai. The new office is part of their strategic plan for India and is envisioned to further strengthen the company’s position in the Indian market. To cater to parents growing need of providing bio-insurance to their offspring, Cryo-Save India has plans for a phased launch in key centres across the country. In Maharashtra, the city of Mumbai alone has 50,000 births per year and Pune has over 20,000 births every year in the Sec (Socio-Economic classification) A & A+ category. The company’s sales office is head quartered in Mumbai and their Maharashtra plans include representation in cities like Nagpur, Aurangabad, Pune, etc.

Cryo-Save India, with its corporate office in Bangalore, was recently set up with an investment of 1.8 Million Euros. Cryo-Save Group will scale up its investment to 2 million Euros within a year of its operation of the Indian subsidiary. The group company, Europe’s largest adult stem cell storage bank, has its operations in 37 countries across three continents. Cryo-Save India brings to the table a depth of expertise and experience in stem cell banking.

Cryo-Save India will be the only company in India with its unique offering of dual-storage system and this will be available for the first time in the country. They are also the only company that does automatic processing to avoid manual intervention and contamination. The company will be offering the collection and storage of ADULT stem cells derived from cord blood. The services will be available across all metros and other cities.

V.R. Chandramouli, Managing Director, Cryo-Save India, said, “We are very keen to extend our footprint to India specifically in the Western market as we see an immense market potential for adult stem cell banking or family banking in the Maharashtra region. A world-class stem cell banking service was the need of the hour for a huge market like India and Cryo-Save India will be offering this. We believe that the launch of the Indian operations has ushered in a new chapter in the quality of stem cell banking services offered.”

For more details on Cryo-Save India please visit http://www.cryo-save.com/india/index.html

Another major source of stem cells – menstrual blood

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Stem cells are one of the most fascinating areas of biology today. But like many growing fields of scientific inquiry, research on stem cells raises scientific questions as quickly as it generates new discoveries.

In India, menstruation blood has been considered as dirty and polluting. There have been a lot of myths, taboos and various practices related to menstruation. In olden times, the lady would be made to sit in some corner, wear only particular clothes, use a separate set of vessels for eating and drinking, and she was not allowed to cook. Other members in the family were not to even go near her, let alone touch her!!! At the end of the period, she would ‘cleanse’ herself by taking a hair bath.

Thankfully, while in some of the homes in rural India these restrictions might still be prevalent; in urban homes these rules seem to have lost effect. However, menstrual blood is still today considered sanitary waste. Yet recent findings have revealed menstrual blood to be a rich and easily accessible source of adult stem cells.

LifeCell is the first and the largest private cord blood stem cell bank and stem cell solutions provider in India which facilitates the cryogenic preservation of umbilical cord blood stem cells at its central facility in Chennai, India. They have been doing research on menstrual blood as a source of stem cells. Here is what Dr. Ajit Kumar, Chief Scientific Officer, LifeCell International has to say:

A woman’s role in society and the family is constantly changing. She dons the role of a daughter, sister, wife, mother, an entrepreneur, a working professional, a friend and much more with élan. The master stem cell or the zygote, wherein human life begins, is created when a woman’s egg is fertilized by her partner’s sperm. Shortly thereafter, this master stem cell begins to multiply into hundreds of millions of cells, including a large number of other stem cells, as the embryo develops during the early stages of pregnancy. The less specialized stem cells give rise to more specialized cell types and the process continues throughout pregnancy leading to the formation of all the cell types within the human body such as skin, muscle, nerve, bone, etc. Following birth and throughout adult life, our bodies continue to produce stem cells that serve as a vital source for regeneration and repair throughout our lifetime.

While the concept of stem cells becomes intuitive if one considers the development of complex organisms such as humans from a single cell such as the zygote and also the constant requirements for repair and replenishment of cells, it is only within the last fifty years that stem cells have been recognized for their therapeutic value. It is these therapeutic applications that have become the primary focus of studies by researchers and scientists from around the world. Since the very first bone marrow transplant in the 1950’s, to the 1980’s and ’90’s, when more than 16,000 stem cell transplants were performed to treat leukemia and immune system diseases, research into regenerative cellular therapies for a wide range of human diseases has rapidly advanced. Most recently, medical researchers have discovered adult stem cells in the endometrial lining of the uterus.

Another path breaking discovery in this area is that menstrual blood itself is a rich source of stem cells and serves as a potential source for promising regenerative therapies to treat heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders like spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, in addition to cosmeceutical applications such as anti-aging therapies, to name a few. In simple terms potentially life-saving stem cells are found naturally in menstrual blood.

The Menstrual stem cell comes from the uterine lining (endometrium), which is shed as part of a woman’s menstrual period. These menstrual stem cells are unique because they have many properties and characteristics similar to both bone marrow and embryonic stem cells.

Until now, menstrual blood has been discarded as unsanitary waste. However, as recent research has shown menstrual fluid contains self-renewing stem cells that can be easily collected, processed and cryo-preserved for potential cellular therapies that may emerge in the future. They multiply rapidly and can differentiate into many other types of cells such as neural, cardiac, bone, fat, cartilage and possibly others; demonstrating great potential for cell therapy. Preliminary research suggests that in addition to possible use by the donor, these stem cells may also be used to benefit other family members who are genetically related to the donor, such as perhaps a parent, sibling or child.

More information on stem cells is available on www.lifecellinternational.com

Written by sreelakshmi

6 January, 2009 at 7:32 am