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December 18, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Cord blood bank to tighten up hospital collection

THE Shanghai Cord Blood Bank faces challenges in supervising blood collection and reducing the amount of unqualified samples for storage, its officials said yesterday.

More than 40 percent of samples are being wasted during the collection and processing procedures due to substandard practices by hospitals.

"We are acting to reduce this ratio by paying more attention to the blood collection procedure at hospitals and tightening supervision over cord blood processing," said Gao Feng, director of the Shanghai Cord Blood Bank.

Cord blood contains stem cells that can be used to save lives. Cells from cord blood are more likely to match transplant patients.

According to cord bank officials, umbilical cord blood donations soared almost 50 percent this year over 2008 as more people became aware that it posed no risk to their child.

The bank has collected 5,305 samples of cord blood for public use this year compared with 3,598 in 2008.

It has also more than quadrupled the number of cord blood samples stored in its private section from 447 last year to 1,935 as of last month.

The public bank allows donors and patients to be matched randomly according to supply and demand. The private section stores cord blood for the donor's private use.

But the bank started to promote a "helping others" campaign in late 2007, allowing parents to decide if they would donate cord blood when it matches a patient who needs a stem cell transplant.

The new practice was meant to help more patients, officials said. To date, 162 patients have applied for cord blood and 159 of those successfully received matching samples.

Bank officials said they were satisfied with the rise in blood samples and the high success rate this year.

"With the support of society, the bank has more than enough samples and doesn't have to invest money to buy more," Gao said.


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