Qatar University (QU) hosted a seminar at the Department of Health Sciences last Sunday discussing cord blood stem cell banking and procedures currently operated in Qatar to provide the required cord blood stem cells. Chris Goodman, Director of Operations at Virgin Health Bank LLC, a cord blood stem cell bank located at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) managed the seminar. Virgin Health Bank LLC is considered the only blood bank licensed by Qatar’s Supreme Council of Heath and the UK’s Human Tissue Authority (HTA), and has offered services to many families in Qatar to store their babies’ cord blood stem cells.
The importance of stem cells in medicine, their ability to multiply and transform into specialized cells and their therapeutic uses are topics discussed in the seminar. Goodman mentioned that umbilical cord blood has been identified as a rich source of these cells. He said “Stem cells are already being used today, in the treatment of over 80 illnesses, mainly from matched donors to treat cancers of the blood such as leukemia, and blood disorders such as sickle-cell anemia and beta Thalassaemia. Many scientists and medical experts believe there will be breakthroughs in the future for individuals having access to his or her own stored cord blood stem cells. This is known as regenerative medicine and offers the hope of future treatments and potential cures for some of the most debilitating diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s”.
He added “Virgin Health Bank has partnered with several maternity hospitals in Qatar, namely the Women’s Hospital at Hamad Medical Corporation, Al Emadi Hospital, Al Ahli Hospital, and Doha Clinic Hospital to educate the community about stem cells and their importance by providing bilingual educational material and expert clinical advice for expectant families”.