Singapore to open public stem cell bank

Singapore, Oct 26 (IANS) A stem cell bank in Singapore, which will allow members of the public to store their own stem cells for the future, is set to open on Tuesday, officials confirmed on Monday.

The new facility, called Stem Med, is located in Pasir Panjang and allows doctors to harvest stem cells from a person’s bone marrow, peripheral blood and adipose tissues, Channel News Asia reported.

When injected into the body, stem cells can help replicate organ tissues. They are used to treat more than 80 diseases, including blood disorders and cancers.

A statement said the stem cell bank is a joint venture between cord blood bank StemCord and oncology, haematology and stem cell transplant provider, TalkMed Group.

While StemCord has been in operation since 2002, it only stores stem cells from babies, which are extracted from the blood and tissues of umbilical cords. So far, it has seen 12 cases of children needing the stored cells for medical purposes.

“Cord stem cells banking is a recent development and we need to take action now to tap on this immense therapeutic potential not just for the baby, but may also be useful also for parents and grandparents,” said Teo Cheng Peng, medical director of StemCord.

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