Marina Yannakoudakis, MEP for London and Conservative Health Spokesman in the European Parliament visited the laboratories of the transplant charity the Anthony Nolan Trust near the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead today.

Marina is currently authoring a European Parliament report on the voluntary donation of tissues and cells. The aim of her visit was to look at how the Anthony Nolan Trust is helping those who need stem cell transplants using cells from bone marrow and cord blood.

The Anthony Nolan Trust created the world’s first register of people willing to donate their stem cells and established the UK’s first dedicated cord blood bank.

Marina was given a tour of the trusts laboratories by trust’s Chief Executive Ms. Henny Braund, Head of Quality Mr. Kieran Herrity and Laboratory Manager Mr. Richard Holman.

She said: “Bone marrow transplants are often the only hope for people with leukaemia or other blood diseases. Finding a match can help save a life and I am impressed at the work that the Anthony Nolan Trust laboratories do to find compatible donors for patients in need.

“In my report, I intend to look at ways to raise awareness of donating umbilical cord blood after the birth of a child. The Anthony Nolan trust is active in collecting and banking cord blood which can be used to treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

“Too few mothers donating umbilical cord blood which leads to needless deaths. Thanks to £4 million of funding from the Department of Health, the Anthony Nolan Trust is working closely with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to expand cord blood collection at existing hospital collection sites to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anthony Nolan and NHSBT are also going to jointly operate a single UK-wide stem-cell donor registry for British transplant centres.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of the Anthony Nolan Trust said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Marina to our laboratories. The EU has enormous impact on our work both in providing stem cells for patients in need of a transplant, and in our research. We hope that Marina will take away knowledge that will help inform the EU as it monitors the life sciences sector.”

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