Singapore joins global cord blood network

Sep 24, 2007
Singapore joins global cord blood network
This gives patients here another 60,0000 donor cords.
By Judith Tan

PATIENTS here suffering from several blood diseases will get a better chance in finding a perfect match for a life-saving transplant using stem cells from cord blood.

Singapore’s first public cord blood bank has become a member of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a global network of cord blood banks, opening up patients here to another 60,000 donor cords.

At the same time, ethnic Asians in the West and other parts of the world can seek a match from the more than 2,500 cords banked here.

Dr Jeff Chell, the Chief Executive Officer of NMDP revealed that already there has been a request from an Asian American suffering from leukaemia to the Singapore Cord Blood Bank for a match.

SCBB is the third international cord blood bank outside of the US to become a member of NMDP, after that in Taiwan and Israel.

Blood in the umbilical cord is a rich source of immature cells that can develop into a wide range of different blood cells and can be used effectively to replace diseased ones.

Since the SCBB opened its doors two years ago, there have been two recipients of stem cell transplant from unrelated cord blood donations. The first was Hoh Sin Jun, two, who was diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency, sometimes referred to as ‘bubble boy disease’. His transplant operation took place in May last year at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The second recipient was Jayjay, five. He was diagnosed with Hyper-IgM Syndrome, a different type of immunodeficiency that causes frequent infections of the ears, eyes, sinuses, lungs, skin, respiratory tract and other areas of the body. He went through his transplant at the National University Hospital last month.

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