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Charity celebrates 10 years of lifesaving cord collection

24 December, 2017

Charity celebrates 10 years of lifesaving cord collection

KCH cord collection team Bake sale 250x200.jpg

The KCH cord collection team's bake sale. Credit: Anthony Nolan

The Anthony Nolan charity is today (24 December) celebrating 10 years of lifesaving cord blood collection at King’s College Hospital, London.

The hospital is one of four in the UK where Anthony Nolan has cord collection facilities, and was selected for the size and ethnic diversity of the population it serves. 

The programme opened in September 2007, and the first cord collection took place on 24 December, Christmas Eve. 

Although the service would usually close on Christmas Day, the programme supervisor came in nevertheless to process the cord blood and ensure it was frozen in time to be used.
 
Umbilical cord blood, usually discarded after birth, is rich in stem cells and can be used in transplants for people with blood cancer and blood disorders. 

The stem cells contained in cord blood can be collected after a woman has given birth and banked until needed by someone in need of a transplant. The process is completely safe for mother and baby.
 
Site coordinator for the Anthony Nolan Cord Programme at King’s, Rashelle Dinham, said: ‘Since collecting that first cord, the Anthony Nolan team at King’s College Hospital have collected over 8500 cords from selfless mums, of which more than 2200 are of good enough quality for transplant. Cord blood transplants are a real lifeline for people with blood cancer, and by doing something as simple as donating your placenta and umbilical cord, which would usually be thrown away, mums and their babies could save a life.’
 
The cord blood donations that don’t contain enough stem cells to be used in transplants may be used in lifesaving research at the Anthony Nolan Research Institute, helping develop new techniques to make transplants more successful.
 
The Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank is aligned with the NHS; they have a joint target of collecting 30,000 umbilical cord blood units by 2018. 

Find out more about donating cord blood here.

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