BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Malaysian cord blood bank Stemlife has partnered with Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) to open a centre that helps expectant families better understand the benefits of stem cell banking in treating diseases.

In a press statement issued Friday, Stemlife said its Stem Cell Banking Resource Centre in JPMC provides information about the “lifesaving power of stem cells” from cord blood and the umbilical cord.

Expectant families will have access to stem cell therapy information before or after consultation with the obstetrician at JPMC’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Clinic, allowing them to make an informed decision before the arrival of their baby.

Dr Meera Sahib Kabeer, medical director of JPMC, said the newly opened Stemlife Stem Cell Banking Resource Centre will strengthen the hospital’s operational efficiency to meet the rising demand for stem cell banking in Brunei.

Stemlife said cord blood and the umbilical cord are two of the best sources of stem cells but they must be collected at birth.

“The collection process is quick and painless. Upon collection, the cord blood and umbilical cord will be sent immediately to Stemlife’s American Association of Blood Bank (AABB) accredited facility in Malaysia for processing and long-term cryopreservation,” the company said.

Cryopreservation is the process of storing cells, tissues and organs at low temperatures so that it can still be used in the future.

“Cord blood stem cells have been proven useful in the treatment of more than 80 medical conditions, such as leukaemia, lymphoma and neuroblastoma,” Stemlife said.

It added that scientists believe the true potential of stem cells has yet to be tapped and can be extended to include neurological disorders such as autism and cerebral palsy.

“More than 1,500 clinical trials involving stem cells that can be found in the umbilical cord are also under way for conditions such as stroke and heart attack.”

Zahrein Redza, chief operating officer of Stemlife, said his company collaborated with JPMC as part of its plans to offer internationally-accredited cord blood banking services in Asia.

He added that Stemlife’s AABB accreditation will strengthen Bruneians’ confidence in the company, reassuring them that their babies’ cord blood will be properly handled and cryopreserved for future medical use.