- Singapore Cord Blood Bank
The Singapore Cord Blood Bank (
Abbreviation: SCBB) is Singapore’s only public cord blood bankthat collects, processes and stores donated umbilical cord blood for use in stem cell transplants. Its cord blood units may be searched for use by qualifying transplant centers around the world.
Public Cord Blood Banking
As a public cord blood bank, SCBB does not charge cord blood donors for its services. However, as the cord blood is donated altruistically, the donor relinquishes any claims to it after donation. This contrasts with a private cord blood bank where donors pay a fee for the cord blood banking services, but retain ownership over the use of their cord blood.
Cord blood and its uses
Cord bloodis the blood that circulates through the umbilical cordfrom the foetus to the placenta. After delivery, the placenta is almost always thrown away. Yet this humble umbilical cord has become a life saving and precious commodity, because cord blood is rich in blood stem cells.
Blood stem cells are young or immature cells that can transform into other forms of essential blood cell types, such as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The use of blood stem cells has emerged as a potentially curative option for the treatment of several diseases, including blood cancers (such as
leukemiaand lymphoma), and severe anaemia(such as myelodysplastic syndrome, thalassemia majorand severe aplastic anaemia).
Efforts to establish SCBB were formally initiated by Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) in 2001. Singaporean patients who needed stem cell transplants were then facing difficulties in obtaining
Human Leukocyte Antigen(HLA) matched stem cell units because of the relative scarcity of stem cell donors that matched Singapore’s main ethnic profiles i.e. Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicities. SCBB was conceived as a solution to this problem. Collecting, processing and storing locally collected cord blood would significantly increase the probability of obtaining matched cord blood units for the treatment of Singaporean patients. In addition, SCBB would also benefit any patient around the world with the same HLA profiles as Singaporeans.
Joined subsequently by the
National Healthcare Group, Club Rainbow (Singapore) and Children’s Cancer Foundation, SingHealth established the Singapore Cord Blood Bank as a stand-alone organisation in 2004, with operations commencing on 22 December of that year.
The expressed mission of the SCBB is to provide placental cord blood units of high safety and quality, through the practice of internationally accredited techniques of collection, processing, banking and disposition, in order to support cord blood transplantations and related research in Singapore and around the world.
SCBB is registered in Singapore as a
company limited by guarantee. It has a not-for-profit charter and is governed by a non-executive board of directors. Chaired by "Prof Tan Ser Kiat" the board's members include "Dr Kwa Soon Bee, Prof Chee Yam Cheng, Dr Tan Hiang Khoon, Mr Gregory Vijayendran, Mrs Ruth Wong" and "Mr Markham Shaw".
Chief Executive Officer, "Steven J Sobak", leads the management team of SCBB, having taken over the reins from founding Executive Director "Dr Fidah Alsagoff" in early 2007. The Medical and Laboratory Director is "Dr William Hwang".
SCBB is located in Basement 1 of the
KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
SCBB currently collects cord blood from three public hospitals, namely KK Women's and Children’s Hospital,
Singapore General Hospitaland National University Hospital, as well as nearly all of the private obstetric hospitals in Singapore.
* [http://www.scbb.com.sg/ Official website]
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