CordLife, Pacific’s largest network of stem cell banks, on Wednesday launched the most advanced umbilical cord banking technology in the country. The technology has the ability to isolate two cell types that help in hastening the healing process of diabetic foot ulcers.
The patented technology allows access epithelial stem cells that can rejuvenate skin and mucus membranes for treating non-healing wounds as is seen in diabetic ulcer patients, said Steven Fang, group CEO, CordLife. With over 4 crore people in the country diagnosed with diabetes and 1 in every 6 estimated to have an ulcer during the lifetime, CordLife expects the new umbilical cord banking technology to help harvest the right and important stem cells that may prevent amputations, Fang said.
“Typically, diabteic ulcers are very difficult to heal. With epithelial stem cells, the ulcers can be healed within 45 days,” said Meghnath Roy Chowdhury, MD, CordLife Sciences India. The company has shelled out Rs 10 crore to put in place its first cord blood storage facility near Kolkata.
CordLife, one of the leading stem cell banking groups in the Asia Pacific region, is targeting expansion of its network in India and China, considering the huge birth rate in these two Asian nations, a top official said Wednesday.
“We’re looking at India and China as two big markets in terms of our stem cell business in the Asia Pacific region – keeping in mind the huge birth rate in these two countries,” CordLife group chief executive Steven Fang told IANS Wednesday on the sidelines of a press conference here.
“We’re presently in talks with a large number of big government and private hospitals across India to tie up with them for stem cell therapy treatment.”
He said the company was growing at a rate of 70 percent in terms of its client base, and also registered 30 percent growth in its net profit last year.
“Once this stem cell therapy gets commercialised in this country, we’re sure there would be more growth in this particular healthcare sector,” Fang said.
CordLife operates Asia’s largest network of private cord blood banks with full processing and specialised storage facilities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India. It has a strong marketing presence throughout the Asia Pacific region.
The company set up its first storage facility in Kolkata’s adjoining diamond harbour area early this year. The unit has a present capacity of storing about 40,000 cord blood units with a potential to store as many as 150,000 cord blood units.
“The total size of India’s stem cell preservation market is about 15,000 units per annum and it’s growing at a rapid pace. The growth rate has been approximately 42-50 percent per year,” CordLife managing director Meghnath Roy Chowdhury said.
Cord blood has become a very common source of stem cells for transplantations. Permanent cures are possible for some diseases using stem cell therapies.
According to experts, this stem cell therapy can be used for treating various diseases like heart ailments, diabetes, skin trauma, certain cancers like leukaemia and breast cancer, and blood disorders like thalassemia major.
Cord blood, which is also called “placental blood”, is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth and after the cord is cut. Cord blood is routinely discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord.
However, the cord blood, with its rich sources of blood stem cells, can be used to treat over 80 diseases.