Deal agreed to share umbilical cord stem-cell research on platform

Updated 2017-04-12 10:00:46 Global Times

A national health institute inked an agreement Monday with a cell and gene engineering firm on a new sharing platform to support umbilical cord stem-cell research.

The umbilical cord blood bank in North China's Tianjin Municipality will upload the information. The blood bank is affiliated to VCANBIO Cell & Gene Engineering, which has the largest cell-resource storage network in the country with more than 300,000 copies. It is currently the only company of its kind listed on a Chinese bourse, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

“The national umbilical cord blood stem cell resource-sharing service platform, once it has enough data to share, will be an open resource,” Wang Dehai, a staffer from the institute of science and technology of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told Xinhua.

Umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants are used to treat major and refractory diseases such as severe thalassemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and acute myeloid leukemia.

China has established umbilical cord blood stem cell banks in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangdong among other locations. The one in Tianjin has provided more than 1,000 transplant donors for clinical and scientific research.

About two months ago, Chinese scientists made a major breakthrough in repairing lungs with stem cells.

The groundbreaking research was done by a team at the Center for Stem Cell Engineering Translational Medicine at Shanghai East Hospital, a hospital affiliated with Tongji University, people.cn reported.

The clinical experiment was mainly based on a patient with interstitial lung disease, and started five years ago. According to the research team, the experimental treatment had a significant curative effect on patients.

Ren Tao, the chief physician at the hospital's Department of Respiratory Medicine, said the cells were cultivated outside the body to reinforce them, and used as seeds for new cells. Zuo Wei, a stem cell regeneration researcher and professor at Tongji University, said regenerating lung cells to repair lungs has never been done before.

“We are now the first institute to have implemented regeneration of the cells in the lungs and repaired their tissues,” he told people.cn.

According to 2015 data, approximately 1,400 patients across China have received cord blood stem cells provided by the Shanghai Cord Blood Bank since 2004, when the bank was established.

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