Cord Blood Charity Collaboration
Feb 1st, 2013
The 2012 opening of our most recent cord collection centre, at the Royal Free Hospital in London, by Anne Milton, MP. This photo also includes Jo Hemesley (see above), Rubi Pabani, a mum who donated her baby’s cord, and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, wife of the Deputy Prime Minister and Anthony Nolan supporter.)
The recent launch of a cord blood research project marked the beginning of a new collaboration between the Anthony Nolan Trust and the UK Stem Cell Foundation. The two charities have joined forces to co-fund a project focusing on immune reconstitution in cord blood transplantation.
The Anthony Nolan Trust is a pioneering charity that aims to save the lives of people with blood cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, who urgently need a blood stem cell transplant (often known as a bone marrow transplant). The UKSCF is partnering with the Trust to part-fund one of Anthony Nolan’s lifesaving clinical trials over the next three years. By studying the immune recovery of patients following cord blood stem cell transplants, and comparing lab-based investigations with data gained in a clinical setting, this project will offer direct translational benefits for patients by reducing complications and improving long-term transplant survival rates.
Dr Bronwen Shaw is a Clinical Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the Royal Marsden Hospital, and lead scientist on this study. She said: “Stem cells from umbilical cord blood offer tremendous potential to save the lives of patients who cannot find an adult donor match, and who are often from ethnic minorities. However, cord blood transplants currently come with an increased risk of infection, due in part to the naivety of the stem cells and the differences in cellular composition compared to adult stem cells. In this study we hypothesise that certain cell types may serve as early markers of transplant outcome. Following completion of the trials, these findings will allow clinicians to more intelligently tailor conditioning protocols and the use of anti-infectives and other therapeutic agents. This will help improve outcomes for transplant patients – and ultimately save more lives.”
For 37,000 children and adults with blood cancers worldwide each year, a stem cell transplant is their last hope of life when no other treatment options remain. The Anthony Nolan Trust operates the UK’s only combined public cord blood bank and medical research facility, and collects donated umbilical cords in a growing network of UK hospitals. Normally discarded, these precious cords can instead be used in lifesaving transplants and stem cell research. Anthony Nolan strives to ensure those transplants are as effective as possible and that transplant recipients go on to lead healthy, cancer-free lives.
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