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Clinical research cord blood bank opens in Montreal


Montreal, QC – The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) has opened a new clinical research cord blood bank.

The new comprehensive tool will be used to collect and store umbilical cord blood which does not meet the collection standards of the bank managed by Hema-Quebec. The cord blood samples will be used exclusively for research projects on stem cells.

Linda Peltier will be responsible for the administrative management of the Cord Blood Bank, while Dr Pierre Laneuville will act as medical director for the laboratory. Dr Richard Brown will oversee the obstetrics component of the project and Dr Ahmed Galal will act as director of stem cell transplants.

An alliance with the Public Cord Blood Bank of Hema-Quebec will allow the new bank to collect and use all samples provided by donor mothers. Currently, Hema-Quebec only keeps donations above 85-ml and 1 billion stem cells, which is considered the minimum amount required for a successful stem cell transplant. The amount of blood extracted per donation is usually no more than 120 ml-a graft size, that is sufficient for a child but not for an adult. Because of its limited potential in treating adults, this technique is mainly used in pediatric medicine.

The goal of the MUHC Cord Blood Bank for Clinical Research is to collect and store donations that do not meet the collection standards of the bank managed by Hema-Quebec. These donations will be used to develop a transplant technique for adults using stem cells from cord blood. The team has assembled every tool at its disposal to develop an innovative technology that will combine multiple donations to create a graft of adequate size.

“The success of this project will open the door for the use of a wider variety of donations and will allow many patients to receive needed treatment that much sooner, thus saving many lives. We are extremely grateful to our donors who have supported this project,” says Ms Peltier.