KOLKATA: Singapore-based CordLife has entered India with a facility here. This is the fifth such unit of the cord blood bank company in the world. It plans to fan out across the country with Kolkata as headquarters.
Managing director of CordLife India Meghnath Roy Chowdhury told The Hindu that cord blood and stem cells banked after a child’s birth could be used to treat 80 diseases that include blood disorders such as thalassemia Major, quite a few types of cancer, including luekaemia, inherited diseases and immunological disorders.
Mr. Chowdhury said an agreement had to be signed between the company and consenting parents whereby a new-born’s cord blood was banked and stored cryogenically (instead of being thrown away) against a certain one-time fee and an annual charge.
While theoretically, cord blood could be saved and used for an infinite period, the longest-serving one was now used after 24 years (given that the technique was commercialised only in the late 80s). Cord blood could be used for treating a sibling too.
Steven Fang, Group CEO, CordLife Ltd., said the facility in India was by far the most advanced within the company’s network. The company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, had invested around Rs.10 crore in the facility. It would open marketing branches in all the major metros in India within the next two years involving an investment of Rs.30 crore. The first one would be in New Delhi within three months. The company had similar units in Australia, Hongkong, Indonesia and Singapore.
The storage capacity of the unit here would be 1,50,000 cord blood units.
“Cord blood has become a very common source of stem cells for transplantations today and thousands of patients around the world received a new lease of life because of it. We are pleased to offer this miracle of life to the Indian community,” Mark Kirkland, associate professor and medical director of BioCell, a subsidiary of CordLife, said.
The firm said a Singapore boy with leukemia was saved after receiving his sibling’s cord blood stem cells, which were collected and processed by CordLife Singapore.