Marina Yannakoudakis, MEP for London and Conservative Health Spokesman in the European Parliament today visited the Cord Blood Bank Collection Room at Barnet General Hospital to learn more about how umbilical cord blood stem cells can be used to treat cancer, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders.

Marina met with representatives of the NHS Blood and Transplant service and the Cord Blood Bank. She praised the work of the blood bank and collection centre saying:

“Donating umbilical cord blood after the birth of a child is easy. In creating a life you can help save another, as the stem cells in the cord blood can help treat conditions such as leukaemia and sickle cell anaemia. Cord blood stem cells are even being used to repair vascular injuries after heart attacks.

“Unfortunately there are currently too few mothers donating umbilical cord blood. About 440 patients die needlessly each year because they cannot find the right cord blood match which could have saved their lives.”

Marina is in the process of authoring a European Parliament report on the donation of tissues and cells. In the report she will look at ways to raise awareness of cord blood donation in order to ensure that more patients suffering from life–threatening diseases can benefit from this treatment.

Barnet General Hospital became the second NHS Cord Blood Bank collection site in 1998. Since opening the site has banked 2,250 donations.

Cord blood can be also donated at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Watford General, St George’s in Tooting and University College Hospital, London. In July last year Minister for Public Health Anne Milton MP announced £4 million to increase cord blood collection across the country and expand and improve adult stem cell donor registers.

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