Stem cell storage deal aims to boost donation levels

Expectant parents will have the option of donating the stem cells to the Governments public bank, or storing them with Precious Cells private bank, at a charge, for their own use.

The deal is the first of its kind for the NHS, and 15 more trusts are holding firm talks with Precious Cells, the company said. The partnership could significantly increase the number of stem cells available for transplants and scientific research in the UK.

Currently, the levels of cord blood donations in Britain are a fraction of those in the US and Australia, and lower than in most European countries.

The company is aiming to broaden its reach to 90 NHS trusts, adding that such widespread partnerships could generate a 180m windfall for the health service.

Dr Husein K. Salem, chief executive of Precious Cells, said the initiative aimed to tackle the UKs laggard position in terms of investment in cord blood stem cell collection and banking.

Stem cell treatment has become increasingly common and is now used for diseases ranging from diabetes to Parkinsons. It is estimated that one in five people will use the regenerative cells to treat a condition or for diagnostics.

The global stem cell market was worth nearly 2.5bn in 2012 and is expected to grow to 3.87bn by 2016.

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Stem cell storage deal aims to boost donation levels

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