Royan Institute Successful in Using Cord Blood for Cerebral Palsy

Royan Institute Successful in  Using Cord Blood for Cerebral PalsyRoyan Institute Successful in  Using Cord Blood for Cerebral Palsy

Nearly 5000 samples of umbilical cord blood have been stored in Royan Institute’s public bank and 60,000 samples in its private bank, said Morteza Zarrabi, director general of the institute.

“This year (started March 21), we were successful in using umbilical cord blood for the treatment of patients diagnosed with cerebral palsy,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

Until now, seven samples in public banks and six samples in private banks have been successfully used in transplant surgeries, he said, adding that “one of the cases involved treatment of a cancer patient who is in good health now.”

Samples stored in public banks have been donated by families and can be used for all patients with specific diseases and disabilities. In private banks samples are stored just for the donor family and therefore a fee is charged. The cost of collection and genetic testing of each sample is about $645 and the annual charge for storage is $33.

The institute has collected samples from 23 provinces. With a huge kitty of samples in its banks, it is now an unrivaled umbilical cord blood bank in the Middle East region, Zarrabi said.

“There are 23 bank branches (one in each province) and we are planning to increase the number to 26 by the end of the current year.”

Development of umbilical cord banks is among the priorities of the institute. “Several neighboring countries have also asked us to set up cord blood banks for them,” he added.

Importing umbilical cord blood samples from other countries is possible. “We have imported hundreds of samples from Iraq and stored them in our banks. Samples from Oman, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Kuwait will be imported in the near future.”

 Valuable Investment

Storage of stem cells is a valuable investment, Zarrabi said.  Hygienically stored cord blood is good for up to 10 years after which researchers aren’t sure how long the cells will last.

In 2004, the blood bank started its activities to inform families on the benefits of storing their babies’ cord blood. Umbilical cord blood is taken immediately after delivery and does not interfere with the labor process. Blood collection in the form of ‘intrauterine process’ is considered safe.

Umbilical blood is a valuable source of hematopoietic stem cells which can be used for treatment of many malignant diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and others. Children with the diseases can be injected with the stem cells to replenish their blood supply with new, healthy cells.

 The stem cells can also help the body recover from some cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.

They are immature cells that can both reproduce themselves and have the potential to turn into other types of cells.

Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, Stem Cell Biology and Technology was established in 1991 and today leads in biomedical research in stem cell technology and regenerative medicine.

Iran has some of the most liberal laws on stem cell research in the world. The institute founded a Department of Stem Cells in 2002 to establish embryonic stem cell lines.

It has close collaboration with other leading Iranian research centers such as the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics (IBB), National Research Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NRCGEB), and the Bone Marrow Transplant Center at Shariati Hospital in Tehran.