London gets new cord blood donation facility to support stem cell
7 November 2011
A new specialist collection service for lifesaving cord blood
started at University College Hospital (UCH) in London last week.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical
cord after a baby is born. It is rich in stem cells that can help
patients whose own bone marrow is not working due to disease or
after receiving medical treatments such as chemotherapy or
radiotherapy for leukaemia or other cancers.
Expectant mothers register their interest as potential donors
with the facility during their pregnancy and provide consent in
collection, testing and use of the cord blood. The
voluntary donations are stored in the NHS Cord Blood Bank in
Bristol, which is also managed by NHSBT. The UCH facility will
operate alongside those at St George's (Tooting), Barnet General,
Watford General, Northwick Park, Luton and Dunstable Hospitals.
Catherine Howell, Chief Nurse of Patient Services at NHSBT, said:
"We are delighted to be opening our sixth cord blood collection
facility at UCH and giving more mothers the opportunity to donate
their cord blood to help seriously-ill patients who may not have
found a suitable bone marrow match.
"The cord blood collection facility at UCH is one of a number of
initiatives that has been made possible by £4m in funding from the
Government, which was announced in the summer, as part of a
collaboration between NHSBT and Anthony Nolan to deliver a number of
improvements in stem cell services."
Pat O'Brien, clinical director for women's health at UCH, said:
"This is a wonderful NHS initiative and we are delighted to be a
part of it. We are confident that this service will bring benefit
to many patients in the future."
The six NHSBT collection sites are located in areas that serve
ethnically diverse communities. Donor ethnicity is an important
consideration when matching cord blood donations to a potential
recipient as it increases the chance of a possible match. By
focusing collection in these communities we will collect more cord
blood donations from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities who
currently have to wait longer to find a matched donor.
To find out more about donating cord blood, go to: