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Virgin Health Bank and Women’s Hospital Strengthen Ties

HMC-Visit.jpgDoha, Qatar - March 24, 2011 - A delegation of senior personnel from the Women’s Hospital visited Virgin Health Bank’s new state-of-the-art stem cell processing and cryopreservation facility, at the Qatar Science & Technology Park, last week. The visit was designed to develop a greater understanding, amongst the senior staff from the Women’s Hospital, of Virgin Health Bank’s capabilities with this new facility and to identify further opportunities for sharing knowledge between the two organisations.

The delegation, led by Dr. Halima Al Tamimi Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Mr. Nish Patel Executive Director of the Women’s Hospital, comprised distinguished Women’s Hospital staff members who have worked with Virgin Health Bank to develop the leading cord blood stem cell banking services being currently experienced by families having babies at the hospital.
Dr. Rajan Jethwa Virgin Health Bank’s CEO said, “It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Halima and her colleagues from the Women’s Hospital to the newly completed stem cell processing and cryopreservation facility. The Women’s Hospital is one of our most important partners and by working closely with them we are able to offer families in Qatar a World Class cord blood stem cell banking service. Last week’s visit was one of a number of educational initiatives that we will be running for the medical community in Qatar. These initiatives are designed to empower clinicians with knowledge about cord blood stem cells and their therapeutic potential.”
Dr. Halima Al Tamimi commented “My colleagues and I were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the new cord blood stem cell bank. We are working closely with the team from Virgin Health Bank to ensure that our patients are aware of cord blood banking and have the information they require to make informed choices about storing their baby’s stem cells.  I believe that Virgin Health Bank’s unique combination of high quality cord blood banking services and educational initiatives will support the realisation of the benefits of stem cell therapies for families in Qatar.”
Cord blood stem cells are collected, using a safe and painless technique, from the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after a baby is born. The cells are then cryo-preserved for an initial period of 20 years meaning that they are available should the family need them for transplant. Today, cord blood stem cells are used to treat conditions such as Sickle Cell Anaemia, Beta Thalassemia and cancers of the blood such as leukaemias. Around the world hundreds of clinical trials are taking place using stem cells to treat conditions such as stroke, cerebral palsy, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy.
The new stem cell processing and cryopreservation facility is one of a number of Virgin Health Bank “firsts” that include the Supreme Council of Health’s award of the first licence to operate a cord blood bank in Qatar and the launch of the first Arabic / English stem cell educational website www.virginhealthbank.com.qa