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Thread: Cord blood bank needs $6 million lifeline

  1. #1
    Senior

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    Default Cord blood bank needs $6 million lifeline

    If people are willing to donate their blood for a good cause, why do hospitals and doctors still charge exorbitant prices for their services?

    [SIZE="3"]CEO of not-for-profit bank fears funds will dry up as donors move on to new causes
    [/SIZE]Published on Mar 16, 2012
    [url]http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_778190.html[/url]

    By Judith Tan

    Singapore's public cord blood bank will need $6 million more to keep it going in the next five to six years.

    The seven-year-old Singapore Cord Blood Bank is not government-funded and not-for-profit, in that it does not charge a fee for collecting and storing its donated cord blood units.

    Donations from philanthropists and organisations such as the Khoo, Lee, Shaw and SingHealth foundations have seen it through thus far, but its chief executive Steven Sobak fears that these sources of funds will dry up.

    'Like everyone, we worry about the economic downturn, but I'm most concerned that these philanthropic organisations think we're an old cause that can be self-sustaining, so they move on to a new one,' he said.

    He was speaking to The Straits Times on the sidelines of a media conference to announce the blood bank's 100th cord blood transplant done on a recipient who is unrelated to the cord blood donor.

    The bank uses its funds to process and store its 8,000 units of blood extracted from the umbilical cords donated by women who have given birth.

    It aims to have 10,000 units by early 2015 at the latest.

    Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which can mature into red or white blood cells or platelets. These can be used to replace diseased cells in patients with blood cancers or other blood, genetic and metabolic disorders.

    The bank's 100th unrelated recipient of cord blood, for example, is an adult with a blood disorder caused by a lack of red blood cells. If it was left untreated, the patient would likely have faced bone marrow failure.

    The families of women who donate their cord blood to the bank have no claim on the blood, which is available to anyone in need.

    A patient who needs to draw down on the cord blood bank to treat an illness has to bear the costs of services, tests and the retrieving of the blood.

    [B]Each retrieval of the cord blood costs up to $26,000; testing of each unit for a tissue match costs $2,000.[/B]

    [B]Transplants can cost $80,000 to $160,000[/B], though Singaporeans are eligible for a government subsidy amounting to half the cost.

    When Teng Hong Yi, now 12, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009, none of his siblings was of a compatible marrow type.

    His mother Regina Soong, 33, said the family was relieved and grateful when 'a fully matched cord' was found at the cord blood bank.

    The first cord blood transplant was five years ago. Since then, the bank, coupled with its joining a global network of cord blood banks, has facilitated unrelated blood stem cell transplants for 45 children and 55 adults here and abroad.

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  2. #2
    mutant powerpuff

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    Cord blood is different from usual blood that we donate.
    Cord blood is from the navel cord, ie it is only available just after birth when it is extracted from the umbilical cord.

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