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Umbilical cord stem banking now in Pune

LIFECELL, a service provided by Asia Cryo-Cell Pvt Ltd, has brought the revolutionary medical breakthrough of umbilical stem cell banking to India. It will open its centre in Pune on October 8. LifeCell offers stem cell therapy, stem cell research and stem cell therapy.

A baby’s umbilical cord, which is cut at the time of delivery and is discarded, is a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells are master cells that act as building blocks of blood and immune systems. They can develop into white cells that fight infection; red cells that carry oxygen to every part of the body and platelets that promote healing. Stem cells, therefore, help in repairing the body by replenishing important cells in the body.

When a baby is born, his/her cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord and is transported to the stem cell storing facility in Chennai. The cord blood undergoes tests for diseases. If it is found to be safe, stem cells are processed from it.

By storing the baby's umbilical cord blood stem cells, a parent can provide his/her child with potentially lifesaving treatment options for the future. This will ensure that the baby will have a source of stem cells that is an exact match, should there ever be a need for a stem cell transplant. This is important because research suggests that an exact match increases the likelihood of a successful transplant. What's more, there is a strong chance that the baby's cord blood will be a perfect match for other family members as well.

There is massive research activity to provide for cures to diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injury and cardiac diseases through stem cells. This means that such diseases will be cured with the help of stem cells in the future.

LifeCell currently has more than 2,000 members. A pregnant woman can enrol herself by paying an initial fee of Rs. 27,000. Member has to pay Rs. 2,900 every year for the safe keeping of the stem cells. LifeCell has processed and stored around 1,800 samples so far.