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Virgin Health Bank announces completion of Qatar’s first stem cell processing and storage facility

VHB_Exec_Management_Team_3rd-Feb_ACG.jpgDoha, Qatar - February 6, 2011 - Virgin Health Bank has announced the completion of one of the world’s most technologically advanced stem cell processing and storage facilities. The new facility which is located at the Qatar Science & Technology Park is the first of its kind in the country. It will provide families with access to world class cord blood banking services, creating a technology platform that will enable Qatar to be at the forefront of developments in cellular therapies

Dr. Rajan Jethwa Virgin Health Bank’s CEO said of the announcement “I am delighted that we’ve completed our stem cell processing and storage facility and that we are able to make this important announcement. Now that our facility is complete we can move on to the final stages of our preparations for accepting the first stem cell units for processing in Qatar. This final process involves the validation of all of our equipment and systems and only when it has been completed to the highest standards will we start to accept units at the new facility rather than sending them to the UK. In addition to developing the processing and storage facility itself we have also been developing the capabilities of our organisation by recruiting a highly experienced team of scientists to work in the facility and Clinical Advisors who educate families in the community about cord blood stem cell banking.”

VHB_Team_3rdFeb_ACG.jpgLast month, in an initiative designed to ensure that cord blood banking is carried out to the highest technical and ethical standards, the Supreme Council of Health created a licensing requirement for cord blood banks which operate in Qatar. Virgin Health Bank has been granted the first and, to date, only licence to provide cord blood banking services in the country. Commenting on the award of the licence Dr. Jethwa said “Virgin Health Bank operates to the highest standards. We aim not just to meet but to exceed the requirements of the regulatory regimes under which we operate. We welcome the Supreme Council of Health’s initiative as we believe regulation is important in raising and maintaining standards and protecting families from unethical practices. We are extremely proud to have been awarded the first licence”.

Since starting operations in September 2009 Virgin Health Bank has developed close working relationships with all of the key organisations involved in delivering antenatal and maternity care in Qatar. Virgin health Bank works with the Primary Health Care centres to provide families with education about cord blood stem cells and with Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital and with the leading private hospitals to make high quality cord blood banking services available to families. In an operational model that is unique to Virgin Health Bank significant resources are directed towards educating families and the medical community, whilst and transferring knowledge and skills to support best practice collections. The success of this approach is reflected in the high quality of the stem cell units that Virgin Health Bank produces. As part of its educational programme Virgin Health Bank has launched the world’s first Arabic and English cord blood banking website www.virginhealthbank.com.qa. The site is another demonstration of Virgin Health Bank’s commitment to provide families with clear honest and accurate information to help them develop their understanding of the cord blood banking.