Jeevan has always been saying this and we are happy that it is being endorsed: “The chance of baby later benefiting from his or her own banked cord blood is currently less than 0.04 percent, according to the ASBMT. Not only is that because the diseases currently treatable with cord blood are fairly rare, but with many, the child’s cord blood would be unusable because those stem cells contain the same genetic defects, said Shearer, who co-authored the AAP policy statement.” “But should you bank, or donate? Consider the likelihood of using those stem cells. Several medical groups — including the American Medical Association, theAmerican Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the ASBMT andAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—have issued policy statements and opinions related to cord blood banking. The groups recommend public bank donation over private banking because the cord blood has limited personal applications.” “The best case for private banking is if there’s already a family history of one of the diseases currently treatable with cord blood, said Giralt, who is also chief attending physician of the adult bone marrow transplant service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.” Read the full article here: Is Cord Blood Banking Worth the Cost? Here’s What the Experts Say
- When used for transplant, the patient (usually a child) will need a minimum of 25 million cells per KG of body weight. Assuming the body weight is 20 KG, the number of cells required is more than 500 million cells.
- When the cells are taken out after storage for a period of time, approximately 20% of cells lose the function. Hence it is recommended to have more than 750 million cells to start with. More the viable cells, better the outcome.
- To get this number of cells, the amount of cord blood required will be more 70 ml.
- Also, the cord blood should not have any Wharton’s Jelly or clots.
The MDS Beacon says “Umbilical cord blood transplantation with a mismatched donor produces similar outcomes as bone marrow transplantation with a mismatched donor, according to results from a recent analysis conducted in Japan.”
“Not only has God in His wisdom and goodness created a placenta and the umbilical cord to nurture and protect the precious life of an unborn child, but now we know that another gift awaits us immediately after birth. Something very special is left behind, cord blood that is teeming with life-saving stem cells,”
Three incidents in quick succession make me feel that charity is dying in India.
In February 2009, Jeevan Blood Bank and Research Centre, a Chennai based not-for-profit established the first Public Cord Blood Bank to help children with blood cancers and Thalassemia. The vision is to make available matching stem cells from donated umbilical cord blood to these children either free or at affordable cost.
For this project which will benefit children across India and children of Indian origin across the world, Jeevan needs 90 crores of rupees over three years to collect, process, test and store 30,000 cord blood donations. The only silver lining in fund mobilisation is the approval of 35 AC status to donations up to 47 crores of rupees – meaning 100% tax exemption to donations. Donations in US and UK through www.giveindia.org are eligible for tax exemptions.
In this background let us look at the events:
1. Letters to over 500 Chairmen and CEOs of Indian companies has not elicited any response – except two companies contributing to 30,000 rupees each! I suspect (al)most all of them did not even reach the their table. All that was needed was 30,000 donations of 30,000 rupees each across India – I am sure organsiations like CII can facilitate this as “CSR” activity of the member companies!
2. During a recent dinner meeting one of my good friends said his company has a significanT tax liabIlity this year because of extremely good business – money came from sale of consumables to blood bank industry across India. I was told that his CA had advised him either to pay the tax and retain the money or share it with employees and write off as business expense instead of “donating”. His reason – these “loyal” employees will bring in more money to the company next year!
3. Recent suggestions of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India to change the policies relating to tax exemptions to donations, if approved, will place the final nail on the coffin of charity.
We at Jeevan are debating about the options available to ensure availability of matching stem cells to these children while the country is watching IPL3.
We are born optimists – like every team and owners of IPL!!!!
Till next time….