Isfahan Gets Stem Cell Bank

Isfahan Gets Stem Cell BankIsfahan Gets Stem Cell Bank

A hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) bank and HSC transplantation (HSCT) ward were launched in Isfahan’s Seyyed-o-Shohada hospital early this week.

The hospital will register volunteers’ stem cell data to be used for patients requiring transplants. Iranians aged 18-55 years with no physical or mental ailments qualify for stem cell donation.

The HSC bank in Isfahan is the ninth in the country after Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz, Tabriz and Kermanshah. The HSCT ward has been launched with a 12-billion-rial ($348,000) budget and currently has six surgical beds.

“It is the only such ward in Isfahan Province,” said Dr. Valiollah Mehrzad, hematologist and expert on adult cancers. Operations started from May 21 and bone marrow transplantations for two patients have been performed so far, IRNA reported.

“The ward currently receives patients from the province only but services will be extended to persons from other provinces as well,” said Mehrzad.

Isfahan is now the sixth province to carry out bone marrow transplants after Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Fars, Kermanshah and East Azarbaijan.

The medical procedure in the field of hematology, HSCT is most often performed for patients with certain cancers of the blood or bone marrow and a number of genetic disorders. It may be autologous (when patient’s own stem cells are used) or allogeneic (when stem cells come from a donor). In the latter, the donor must have a tissue or human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type that matches the recipient.

An identical twin is a source of perfectly HLA matched stem cells but other siblings are also very likely to be HLA matched. The chances of finding a matching donor among strangers are few but an HSC bank increases the possibilities.

“Developing these banks in the country will not only ensure accessible domestic donors, but also prevent capital outflow,” said Dr. Saeid Yousefian, an expert on hematology and cancers of children.

Referring to HSCT as the one and only treatment for certain types of genetic diseases, he stressed there were no reports of any side effects from stem cell donation in the world and therefore “it should not worry volunteer donors.

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide to produce more stem cells. Stem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition.

With 160 inpatient and 35 chemotherapy beds, Seyyed-ol-Shohada hospital provides treatment for patients with various types of cancer.