Sep 2014

Margaret Atwood: the importance of the national cord blood bank

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In Monday’s the Globe and Mail, Margaret Atwood shared her thoughts about the importance of the national public cord blood bank in Canada.

With Canada being an ethnically diverse country, many patients affected by leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases, are unable to find a match among donors to treat their diseases. Umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells that can be transplanted to patients unable to find a donor.

As featured in several articles here, prior to September 2013, when the first cold blood collection facility opened in Ottawa, Canada was the only G8 country without a national collection program. Private collection banks existed already, but they were not accessible to everyone due to the costs.

Thanks to the initiative of Canadian Blood Services (CBS), there are four public cord blood collection facilities now: in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver.

CBS has been leading the $12.5-million fundraising campaign to expand the collection bank and has yet to raise the last quarter of the amount.

“Some may feel that private enterprise can take care of this need. That’s fine for those who can afford it, but what about those who can’t?” writes Ms. Atwood. “Public health services should allow care for all, not just the privileged. And so it should be with cord blood banks. I’m confident that, once they realize the need, Canadians will pitch in and get the bank completed.”

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