Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 23, 2007

Cord blood storage questionable

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:08 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Doctors have expressed concern about the storage and effectiveness of cord blood.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the complaints were on how long cord blood could be kept and unsubstantiated claims by private cord blood banks.
“The doctors want us to control matters like the advertising. So there will be guidelines from the ministry that will have to be adhered to,” he said, adding that the guidelines would be drawn up by a National Committee on Stem Cell Services.
Dr Chua said while cord blood was stored to potentially treat diseases such as lymphoma, leukaemia and thalassemia, there were claims and advertisements stating that it could treat illnesses including diabetes, cerebral palsy and regenerative disease.
“There are a lot of unsubstantiated claims.
“Besides, we do not know how long it takes for the samples to become defective during storage or if the quantity collected is enough,” he said.
He said private cord blood banks in the country charged between RM2,500 and RM5,000 for registration followed by a yearly subscription of between RM125 and RM250.
At present, there are three cord blood banks operating in the country.
The American Association of Paediatrics, in its latest policy statement, stated that private umbilical cord blood storage as a “biological insurance” should be discouraged because there was not enough evidence to support the routine harvesting and storage of umbilical cord.
Dr Chua said the ministry received an annual allocation of RM16.8mil and a one-off grant of RM15.6mil to boost its cord blood services.

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