31/10/2006 - 21:00

Not for profit: Cord blood facility for Perth

31/10/2006 - 21:00

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A cord blood bank facility that could save the lives of Western Australians living with leukaemia, blood cancers and other malignant genetic diseases is to be developed in Perth.

A cord blood bank facility that could save the lives of Western Australians living with leukaemia, blood cancers and other malignant genetic diseases is to be developed in Perth.

 

The $6 million facility will be funded by Rotary WA, to commemorate the organisation’s international centenary, and will provide a repository for cord blood stem cells, used as an alternative to bone marrow tissue in transplants.

 

According to Gail Lazzaro, senior scientist at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in Perth, the cord blood bank would assist patients who are unsuccessful in finding a bone marrow match, estimated to be between one third and half of all patients requiring a transplant.

 

“The way that we determine who uses cord blood is through matching tissue types. The advantage with cord blood is tissue type doesn’t have to be perfectly matched,” Ms Lazzaro said.

 

“We will be able to represent the tissue types of our local community, meaning we increase the potential for the patient here and in other places to find a match.

 

“We know that in Australia there are 1,100 patients currently searching for a bone marrow or cord blood match, and there are 70 patients on the WA search list at the moment.”

 

She said it was important to have a facility in the state representing the tissue types of people not currently represented on national cord blood banks, such as WA’s indigenous communities.

 

“There are a number of groups that live in WA that do not have their ethnic diversity represented in cord blood banks, whose tissue types are unique and region specific,” Ms Lazzaro said.

 

“A cord blood bank based here may be the only opportunity for people in those communities to have their tissue type available when they need to transplant.”

 

The blood bank will also allow women who live in WA to donate to a national blood cord bank.

 

“Every cord blood that is collected and successfully banked will be available for searching nationally and internationally” Ms Lazzaro said.

 

“It’s actually going to make WA part of this global community of cord blood banks.”

 

A pilot study at King Edward Memorial Hospital started in 1989, however the project failed to secure government funding for a facility.

 

Rotary WA became aware of the project and requested a submission from Ms Lazzaro to be considered for funding.

 

Rotary WA will launch its public fundraising campaign next month, with a dinner at the Government House ballroom on November 23, called ‘A Night to Remember’. 

 

Fundraising began earlier this year, with private campaigning of individuals and companies raising $3.6 million to date, including a donation of $1 million from Lotterywest. Other major supporters include HBF, Wesfarmers, Haruhisa Handa, Consolidated Minerals and Mirvac Fini.

 

The WA Rotary Cord Blood Bank is to be established in the Red Cross blood bank’s Wellington Street site, with the Red Cross Blood Service to manage the facility and King Edward Memorial Hospital to be the primary collection site initially.

 

It is expected that construction of the facility will begin in the next 12 to 18 months, with plans for the design of the site being finalised.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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