Leeds Teaching Hospitals to introduce private stem cell collection and storage option for patients

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is continually striving to provide high quality, patient centered care to each and every patient. Smart Cells International, in association with the trust, will be introducing the option for patients to privately store stem cells from the umbilical cord across St James’s University Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and Wharfedale Hospital.

As one of the largest NHS Trusts in the country Leeds Teaching Hospitals work very hard to provide patients with the best choices in health care and the new initiative for patients to have stem cells collected from cord blood and stored will offer just that.

The introduction of this service between the Leeds NHS Trust and Smart Cells, the UK’s first private cord blood bank, will provide the opportunity to raise some much needed awareness on the importance of storing umbilical cord blood stem cells. Furthermore, it will offer parents the option to store their baby’s cord blood for their own private use.

The samples are taken at the time of birth from the umbilical cord and the collection procedure is both simple and non-invasive. Full support will be provided to the parents by Smart Cells during this process allowing them to make an informed choice.

Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby is born, which are both usually thrown away after the birth. However, as this is a rich source of stem cells, it can be collected, processed and stored to be used later to help to treat many life threatening conditions. Once the cord blood has been processed and frozen, it can be stored for 25 years or until it is required by the child or a family member who matches the sample.

As part of this initiative, maternity patients will be provided with information to introduce the options available to them at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and Wharfedale Hospital at the start of their pregnancy journey allowing them the time to understand the choices they have ahead of them. This is a unique opportunity and making parents aware of this option will certainly help to raise awareness to those who may not ordinarily have had any knowledge of the benefits of stem cells or their uses in treatment. This will be a first for a trust in the north of England.

A YouGov Survey recently showed that almost 1 in 3 parents did not know that they could store their child’s cord blood and tissue, and 78% felt that more should be done to educate them about storing cord blood and tissue.

Smart Cells is the UK’s first private cord blood company and has released more samples for transplants than any other private stem cell company in the country.

Shamshad Ahmed, CEO at Smart Cells, commented on the partnership:

Stem cell therapy is well accepted worldwide and is currently being used to treat more than 80 diseases. In the 17 years since Smart Cells was founded, we have released 19 samples to patients all over the world, successfully treating a variety of conditions including Cerebral Palsy, Thalassemia, Leukemia and HSV Encephalitis. Here at Smart Cells we have our own laboratory and processing facility based in the UK and have collected samples from over 70 countries.

We have offices in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the Far East making us a truly global organization. We believe that this service should be available to every parent, child, and family. We hope this opportunity will pave the way forward in achieving this goal.

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