Apr 2014

Calgary looks ahead to performing transplants

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The National Public Cord Blood Bank will have an impact in cities beyond those doing the collection.

The first cord blood collecting facility was opened in September 2013 in Ottawa, followed by Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver, where a collection facility was launched in January at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

The Calgary HeraldĀ reported yesterday that the collection of umbilical cord blood will benefit the Southern Alberta city’s hospitals making it possible to perform stem cell transplants at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre later this year.

“There’s a good chance we may find donors for Canadian children in the Canadian cord bank,” says Dr. Victor Lewis, a pediatric oncologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Cord blood cells are a rich source of stem cells, which can be transplanted to treat diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, which account for almost half of all cancers occurring in children between the ages of 0 and 14.

The existence of a national bank will reduce the costs of importing cord blood units from abroad and will increase the chances of finding a better match for Canadians in need of a transplant.

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