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Private Cord Blood Banking

The much awaited national stem-cell banking system in Qatar will become a reality by the end of January 2010, when Virgin Health Bank QSTP (VHB) will offer private cord services to Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) patients. Senior officials of HMC and VHB signed a memorandum of understanding, yesterday, marking the first step into a major collaboration.

Under the agreement, VHB will work with the HMC Women’s Hospital to provide patients with access to its high quality cord blood banking services. The Shariah compliant service gives families the choice of storing the cord blood stem cells from the newborn babies.

“Medical science is advancing all the time and stem cells will be the basis for new treatments in the future in addition to those that have already been developed,” said Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director, HMC.

“We are delighted to be working with Virgin Health Bank to provide our patients with the choice of storing their baby’s stem cells. HMCand VHB share similar values and are both focused on providing patients with high quality care and services. Teams from VHB and HMC are working closely together on an implementation plan that will see the new service launched at the end of January 2010 and we look forward to a very positive working relationship that will benefit our patients in the years to come.”

Cord blood derived stem cells offer many advantages over those that are harvested from bone marrow — a key benefit is that these stem cells are harvested in a non-intrusive and pain-free method from the placenta that is generally discarded following the birth of the child.

“Our experience shows that working together and arranging the appropriate transfer of knowledge and skills is key to the delivery of high quality cord blood banking services. We will also be working with HMC to ensure parents are provided with information about this innovative service.”

“Increasing numbers of families around the world are choosing to bank the cord blood stem cells of their babies. Our vision is to exploit VHB’s knowledge of cord blood stem cell processing and storage, benefit from the global reach of the Virgin brand, and to make Qatar one of the world’s leading centres for cord blood banking,” he said.

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