Thursday, November 16, 2006

Banking on Indian Umbilical Cords

An Indian blood bank plans to take advantage of the country's booming birth rate by opening a repository for blood taken from umbilical cords.

But critics worry that without proper oversight, the massive bank could put a price tag on umbilical cords, putting the country's millions of impoverished women and
children at risk of exploitation.

Cord blood is used in the treatment of many ailments, especially blood diseases like leukemia, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.

With 43 million births a year, India is poised to be the largest supplier of umbilical cord blood in the world.

LifeCell, based here, hopes to open a cord-blood bank in December. The bank would serve anyone in the world with access to FedEx.

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