Stem Cell Research Institute and Cord Blood Bank Opens in U.K.

The Anthony Nolan Trust Cord Blood Bank, with facilities in London and Nottingham, is launching a new project that will accommodate the storage of adult stem cells derived from the blood of 50,000 umbilical cords. The project is one of the largest of its kind, and fundraising plans have targeted a goal of 27 million pounds through charitable donations for the projected growth of the organization.

According to the British Minister of Health, Alan Johnson, who opened the center, “For most transplants, the reality is that someone else has to die and donate their organs for another to live. But with bone marrow and cord blood, this is clearly not the case. Bone marrow can be easily and painlessly donated via a single operation. Cord blood offers further potential to change and save lives. Collected, processed and stored at birth, it becomes part of a global life-saving resource. The Anthony Nolan Trust is already acclaimed worldwide, and the impact of the events here today will be felt globally. The complex will help provide a lifeline for thousands complementing the 12 years experience of the NHS Cord Blood Bank, and reinforce the UK’s role as a research center of excellence.”

The institute is planning to match the 400,000 potential donors listed in the Bone Marrow Register of the same charity, which expanded into cord blood stem cells 5 years ago. Of the 50,000 umbilical cord donations that are designated for storage by 2012, 30,000 are planned for research, and the other 20,000 for transplantation. According to Dr. Steve McEwan, Chief Executive of the charity, “The beauty of this new program will not only be to save the lives of hundreds more patients but also to provide researchers the opportunity to develop innovative new treatments using cord blood.”

Prior to expanding into cord blood stem cell research, The Anthony Nolan Trust was focused on leukemia research and bone marrow transplantation. The eponym of the organization was Anthony Nolan, who lived from 1971 to 1979 and who died from a rare blood disorder of genetic origin known as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. While the headquarters of the Trust are located in north London, a new facility has just opened on the grounds of Nottingham Trent University, where the company Clean Modules Ltd. has just completed the Cord Blood Cleanroom Centre, where the cord blood stem cells will be processed and stored.

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