Virgin Health Bank signed an agreement with Al Ahli Hospital

February 21, 2010

Courtesy by: albawaba.com

Al-Ahli Hospital and Virgin Health Bank QSTP have signed an agreement creating a partnership that will assist in the development of cord blood stem cell banking in Qatar. Their collaboration will give guests of the hospital the opportunity to store the umbilical cord blood stem cells of their newborn babies.

The programme that has been developed ensures that guests who are going to have their babies at Al-Ahli Hospital are informed about cord blood banking and can benefit from VHB QSTP’s services through their maternity care. This partnership was announced in a press conference hosted by representatives from both Al-Ahli Hospital and VHB QSTP.

VHB QSTP was established to help realise the benefits of stem cell therapies for the people of Qatar and the wider Gulf region and they began offering their cord blood banking services to Qatar’s families in late 2009.

They have already completed a week long training programme for the obstetrics and midwifery teams at Al-Ahli in support of this initiative.

Mr. Abdulwahed Al-Mawlawi, the Managing Director and CEO of Medicare Group and Al-Ahli Hospital said “Al-Ahli Hospital has undertaken this partnership to assist in its development in Qatar by making it available to our honourable Guests. Teams from Al-Ahli and Virgin Health Bank have worked closely together for a number of months to assure that this service is delivered in a proficient manner.”

Dr. Rajan Jethwa, the CEO of VHB QSTP said, “Virgin Health Bank’s new partnership with Al-Ahli Hospital is a significant and exciting development for cord blood banking in Qatar and the Gulf region. Together we’ll educate families about this area of medicine and provide a high quality ethical service.”

Al-Ahli Hospital’s maternity unit is the largest among the private healthcare providers in Qatar. Having been in operation for over than three years, their maternal morbidity and mortality rates are much lower than the internationally-accepted figures. Their western-qualified and highly experienced team of consultants and specialists led by Clinical Director, Dr. Zeenat Rizvi, perform an average of six deliveries per day.

Dr. Rizvi said, “Cord blood stem cell banking provides families with the opportunity to store the stem cells of their newborn babies. These cells may be used to treat the child, or provided there is a tissue match, another member of their family.”

“Developments in this area of medicine are progressing rapidly; today cord blood stem cells are used to treat blood cancers including leukaemia’s and blood disorders such as thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. In the future they are expected to become the basis for advances in the field of regenerative medicine. Through this partnership, we can provide our guests with ethically-compliant cord blood banking and this falls in line with our objective of providing leading edge obstetric care.”

Stem cells are obtained from cord blood collected just after a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. It is a straightforward and safe procedure that has no impact on the mother or her newly born child. After collection, the cord blood is transferred to Virgin Health Bank’s Human Tissue Authority licensed processing centre in the UK, where it undergoes tests to determine its viability and the number of cells are counted before it is cryogenically preserved at -190C.

Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the eminent Islamic scholar, has approved of the cord blood banking process and has declared that it conforms to Shari’a law. Dr Al-Qaradawi is Chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, a member of the Islamic Fiqh Council and the senior Islamic Jurist.

In 2009 Qatar Foundation and VHB QSTP signed a partnership that has seen VHB QSTP relocate its international headquarters to QSTP where it’s building an advanced processing and cryogenic storage facility that will be operational before the end of 2010.

The new cord blood banking service has commenced at Al-Ahli Hospital and guests are now able to get more information about it by contacting its Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department. The service costs families a one off payment of QR 12,950, paid to Virgin Health Bank, which includes the collection kit, the processing of the cord blood, all the necessary tests and 20 years of storage.


Iran to jab individuals against H1N1 for free

January 10, 2010

Courtesy by: presstv.ir

Iranian officials are preparing to mount a free campaign to inoculate at-risk individuals against A/H1N1 flu in the coming days.

Latest figures have revealed a considerable decline in the number of cases that had tested positive for the flu in Iran. No new deaths have been reported in the past two weeks.

Officials, however, predict upcoming waves of the disease in the world as well as Iran, bringing up the need for inoculating high-risk individuals against the disease.

“At-risk individuals such as pregnant women, immunocompromised patients, HIV positive individuals and those suffering from underlying diseases — such as heart, renal and respiratory disorders or active cancer, liver cirrhosis, uncontrolled diabetes, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia and morbid obesity — along with children aged younger than 19 and individuals who are incapable of excreting their sputum will receive the H1N1 vaccine,” said Minou Mohraz, the head of the Iranian association for infectious disease and a member of the National Influenza Committee.

She stressed that healthcare providers who are in close contact with affected patients are in the priority for receiving the vaccine.

Mohraz continued to say that the vaccine will be distributed by the Universities of Medical Sciences in different parts of the country free of charge in order to overcome any possible black-marketing of the drug.

She stressed that the quality of the vaccine has been approved by the Iranian Ministry of Health, suggesting that no certain complication would be reported.

The head of the Iranian association for infectious disease said healthy individuals do not need to be jabbed against A/H1N1, adding that following simple precautionary measure can ward off the flu in these individuals.


Genetic and bio-technology conference held

December 24, 2009

Courtesy by: gulfnews.com

A large population of the UAE suffers from genetic disorders, including common ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and thalassemia, which affect one in 12 people in the country

Dubai: The first genetic and bio-technology conference opened here on Monday with experts warning that the world is being challenged today by serious diseases and viruses that threaten our communities.

The event is organised by the UAE Genetic Diseases Association, in partnership with Yamaguchi University, Japan, Zayed University and DuBiotech.

“This event is all about inspiring students to think creatively about science and society, and to see themselves as part of a global community of practitioners working in similar fields,” said Dr. Michael Allen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Zayed University.

He said genetics and biotechnology is still a burgeoning field in the UAE.

A large population of the UAE suffers from genetic disorders, including common ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and thalassemia, which affect one in 12 people in the country.

Dr Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice-President of Zayed University, said the conference will help raise awareness on prevention and treatment methods of these diseases.

Graduate and post graduate students from the Zayed University, Higher College of Technology and Manipal University are taking part in the day-long conference.

Common genetic disorders in UAE

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Birth Defects
  • Cancer, such as breast cancer
  • Leukaemia (1 in 12 in UAE has this)
  • Thalassemia
  • Alpha Thalassemia
  • Sickle-cell anaemia
  • G6PD (not enough of enzyme glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase)

Wal-Mart, Home Depot, American Legion to host blood drives in Flemington

November 30, 2009

Courtesy by: lehighvalleylive.com

New Jersey Blood Services this morning announced three blood drives planned next month in Flemington, Hunterdon County.

The blood drives are scheduled at the following times, dates and locations.
8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Dec. 19 at Home Depot, 244 Highway Route 202
10:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Dec. 19 at Wal-Mart, 150 Route 31 South
2:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Dec. 28 at American Legion Post 159, 41 Route 31

NJBS, a division of the New York Blood Center, reminds the community that there are children and adults battling illnesses that require frequent blood transfusion. Among these illnesses are leukemia and other forms of cancer, thalassemia and aplastic anemia, sickle cell disease and hemophilia.

Blood donation is particularly important during winter months, when blood supplies diminish while need remains the same, according to a news release from New Jersey Blood Services.

To make a donation appointment or for more information, call 800-933-2566 or visit nybloodcenter.org


These Patients Need Your Help This Thanksgiving

November 17, 2009

NEW YORK, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As we approach Thanksgiving, “Black Friday” and the holiday season, New York Blood Center (NYBC) calls upon the community to please remember the children and families whose lives are stricken by diagnoses that require frequent blood transfusions for recovery and survival. Among these diseases are leukemia and other forms of cancer, thalassemia and aplastic anemias, sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other diseases.
Please take a few minutes from the holiday shuffle to donate blood. Winter holidays are a time when blood supplies diminish while hospital and patient needs remain the same. It is also a time when it becomes more difficult to find precise blood matches for patients who are very sick. Somewhere, someone is fighting for his or her life.

Liam Matthew Gorman, 5, is diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow failure called Diamond Blackfan Anemia, and requires life saving blood every two to three weeks. Each time he is transfused, we thank that anonymous donor who helps Liam.

Alex Mele, 15, is an avid baseball player hoping to win his fight against Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Alex is currently suffering a relapse. Cancer patients need blood transfusions because aggressive treatment often destroys healthy blood cells along with diseased ones. Alex is in dire need of a bone marrow match from someone of similar Italian heritage. For more information, please call 1-800-MARROW-2.

Muriel Roth was diagnosed three years ago with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and needed many units of whole blood and platelets while undergoing chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Muriel lost her battle to cancer on September 16, 2009, at the age of 50. Her friends and family hope that the blood drive in her honor will help to save others.
Please consider donating at one of these blood drives during Thanksgiving week. You may also donate blood in your area by calling 1-800-933-2566.

Liam Matthew Gorman
Monday, November 23, 2009
2:00 pm – 7:30 pm
TransCare Brooklyn
25 Fourteenth Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
(Entrance at the corner of 14th and 2nd Ave.)

Alex Mele
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
3:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Russo’s on the Bay
Second Floor, Tivoli Room
162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard
Howard Beach, NY 11414

Muriel Roth
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
2:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Hudson Valley Mall
Main Level, Vacant Store
1300 Ulster Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401

New York Blood Center is thankful for the individuals, businesses, community groups and religious organizations that are steadfast in their commitment to blood drives throughout the busy and often distracting holiday season.
To donate blood, please call:
Toll Free: 1-800-933-2566
Visit: http://www.nybloodcenter.org

Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive. NYBC also offers special community service scholarships for students who organize community blood drives during the winter holiday and summer periods. Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (with parental permission or consent), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People age 76 and over may donate with a doctor’s note.

About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation’s largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to almost 200 hospitals, serving 20 million people, in greater New York since 1964. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world’s largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine.

Contact: Leslie Gonzalez
Lgonzalez2@nybloodcenter.org
212-570-3304 Office
646-342-3038 Mobile

SOURCE New York Blood Center


Medical students to come together for conference

November 8, 2009

Courtesy by: gulfnews.com

As students, we often find ourselves complaining about our adult-dominated lives. The 4th UAE Medical Students’ Conference, to be held from November 14-16, is a refreshing opportunity for medical students struggling to carve out a niche of their own instead of finding shelter in someone else’s cubbyhole.

The conference is being hosted this year by the University of Sharjah, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The event is organised by the Emirates Medical Students’ Society in collaboration with the Dubai Medical College for Girls, the Ras Al Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University, Gulf Medical College, Universal Empire Institute of Medical Sciences and the University of Sharjah.

The theme
In keeping with its theme ‘Today’s students, tomorrow’s doctors’, the conference will allow students to interact with each other and attend lectures by guest doctors and speakers from the US, UK, Australia and Japan.

An impressive line-up of events that include workshops — many of them run by students; health awareness campaigns such as information booths on Thalassemia prevention, breast cancer, autism and H1N1; a career and internship fair; a multimedia competition and leisure trips has been planned.


CordLife targets India as potential stem cell market

November 8, 2009

Courtesy by: samaylive.com

Kolkata: CordLife, one of the leading stem cell banking groups in the Asia Pacific region, is targeting expansion of its network in India and China, considering the huge birth rate in these two Asian nations, a top official said on Wednesday.

“We’re looking at India and China as two big markets in terms of our stem cell business in the Asia Pacific region – keeping in mind the huge birth rate in these two countries,” CordLife group chief executive Steven Fang told media persons Wednesday on the sidelines of a press conference here.

“We’re presently in talks with a large number of big government and private hospitals across India to tie up with them for stem cell therapy treatment.”

He said the company was growing at a rate of 70 percent in terms of its client base, and also registered 30 percent growth in its net profit last year.

“Once this stem cell therapy gets commercialised in this country, we’re sure there would be more growth in this particular healthcare sector,” Fang said.

CordLife operates Asia’s largest network of private cord blood banks with full processing and specialised storage facilities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India. It has a strong marketing presence throughout the Asia Pacific region.

The company set up its first storage facility in Kolkata’s adjoining diamond harbour area early this year. The unit has a present capacity of storing about 40,000 cord blood units with a potential to store as many as 150,000 cord blood units.

“The total size of India’s stem cell preservation market is about 15,000 units per annum and it’s growing at a rapid pace. The growth rate has been approximately 42-50 percent per year,” CordLife managing director Meghnath Roy Chowdhury said.

Cord blood has become a very common source of stem cells for transplantations. Permanent cures are possible for some diseases using stem cell therapies.

According to experts, this stem cell therapy can be used for treating various diseases like heart ailments, diabetes, skin trauma, certain cancers like leukaemia and breast cancer, and blood disorders like thalassemia major.

Cord blood, which is also called “placental blood”, is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth and after the cord is cut. Cord blood is routinely discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord.

However, the cord blood, with its rich sources of blood stem cells, can be used to treat over 80 diseases.


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