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News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Many cord blood banks' claims are unfounded, says royal college

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 15 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1411
  1. Lynn Eaton
  1. London

    Saving umbilical cord blood from newborn babies in commercial banks for use later in life is unnecessary and its benefit is unproved, a leading UK committee has reported.

    The Scientific Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists gave this finding in updating its advice on umbilical cord blood banking, which was first issued in 2001. Since then the number of private banks operating in Europe has grown.

    Doctors had approached the college asking for advice on the safety of such banks and whether the claims being made by the private banks-such as that their services were “like freezing a spare immune system”—were valid.

    Peter Braude, chairman of the committee, said the committee wholeheartedly supported the collection of stem cells from the umbilical cord when babies were at high risk of diseases such as aplastic anaemia, immunodeficiency syndromes, congenital erythroblastopenia, sickle cell anaemia, and thalassaemia. The NHS's Cord Blood Bank …

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