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Family Bank: LifeCell
Established in 2004, LifeCell International Private Limited is India's first and largest stem cell bank, enjoying the trust of over 1,50,000 parents who have banked their children's stem cells with the company.
LifeCell was founded in technological collaboration with Cryo-Cell International Private Limited based in Florida, USA - the world’s first private stem cell bank with over 25 years of experience. With state-of-the-art laboratories at Chennai and Gurgaon, and a network spread over 200 service centers in the country and footprints in GCC countries, LifeCell is the most accredited stem cell bank with certifications from national and international organizations for standards.
Currently, LifeCell is the only player in the Indian industry providing comprehensive stem cell solutions including menstrual stem cell banking, R&D and point-of-care stem cell therapy for orthopedic and vascular specialties. LifeCell has embarked on a journey to provide comprehensive diagnostic and preventive healthcare solutions for mother and baby to reduce the high disease burden and high mortality rate among newborns in India. Click here for more information on our Management team.
To become the world's largest stem cell solutions provider, with the largest repository of lifesaving stem cell assets, and thereby contributing significantly to the ever-developing scope of transplant medicine. To minimize the high disease burden in India and ensure that every baby born in this country is healthy by providing high quality diagnostic and preventive care services.
Labs and Locations
Laboratory #1 (Processing facility and primary storage facility)
No. 26, Vandalur Kelambakkam Main Road, Keelakottaiyur, Chennai 600127, Tamil Nadu, India.
Laboratory #2 (secondary back-up storage facility)
Plot #26, Sector 4, IMT Manesar, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, India.
For more information on LifeCell's Stem Cell Cities, watch this video
Since its inception in 2004, LifeCell has successfully collected, tested, processed and cryo-preserved samples of over 150,000 (1.5 lakh) children.
The LifeCell Collection Kit uses the Terumo Penpol 150 ml blood bag that is sterile and can be used in the operating room during a C-section or normal delivery. The bag is pre-filled with the anti-coagulant CPD and has a safety lock to avoid needle pricks and damages during collection. Disinfection supplies included: 2 Alcohol Prep Pads, 1 set Sterile Gloves, 1 Sterile Sheet and 1 Iodine Swab. Click here for more information
The LifeCell Shipping container has foam bricks which maintain temperature for longer periods compared to gel packs. The container is certified by the Indian Institute of Packaging and guaranteed to maintain optimum temperature for 72 hours. We always record the temperature at the time point of receipt at our laboratory and proceed accordingly. Click here for more information
LifeCell has a partnership with a critical logistics provider which is certified by International Air Transport Association (IATA). A courier picks the sample from the hospital and ensures that it is transported to our laboratory in the next available flight without X-ray screening, even during weekends and holidays. This ensures that the transit time is minimized and the samples reach our laboratory within the recommended time frame. Shipping is included in the base price within the home country. Additional costs apply when shipped from outside India. Click here for more information
LifeCell uses its proprietary red-cell depletion and plasma reduction technique that is customized to the volume of collection obtained, by employing differential centrifugation technology in a triple closed bag system. In this technique, hydroxyethyl starch (Hetastarch or HES or HESPAN®) is used for the density gradient centrifugation process. Our process ensures median cord blood stem cell recoveries (TNCC recoveries) equal to or greater than 80% which is comparable to those of automated techniques. Importantly, our advanced technology allows significantly higher red blood cells (RBCs) depletion resulting in much lower hematocrit concentration (left over RBCs) in the final product. Our median hematocrit concentration of final product is around 5% compared to over 15-25% being reported for automated techniques. The RBC depletion post processing is in excess of 95% which makes our technology the most preferred from a transplant perspective as it avoids the needs to perform a washing step that may lead to loss of precious stem cells. Only 0.1% of our samples have haematocrit values greater than 40%. The entire processing is performed in a completely closed system, along with bar coded interface thereby eliminating scope of error. Click here for more information
LifeCell's facility was the first stem cell bank in India and second in the world to be audited for all activities involving donor's qualification, collection, testing, processing and storage by AABB for Cellular Therapy (Somatic Cell activities) which covers our activities for cord tissue. To provide a high degree of assurance on isolation of mesenchymal stem cells from the umbilical cord tissue LifeCell uses its proprietary Explant tissue culture technology whereby at least 1-2 million cells are obtained and assessed using the Cell Proliferation Assay prior to storage for their identity, viability, and sterility. This process also ensures that the time to provide cells for transplant is substantially shorter. Also, at no additional cost, a portion of the native umbilical cord tissue is also preserved so that any future cell line isolation or an improved culture technique that maybe available in the future is possible to deploy.
LifeCell provides its customers with a detailed preservation certificate describing test results which includes the cord blood Volume collected, cord blood Group and Rh typing, Total Nucleated Cell (TNC) count, Total Mononuclear Cell (MNC) count, Total CD34+ cell count, CD34+ stem cell Viability percentage, and Sterility. Maternal blood is screened for HIV, HBV, HCV, HTLV, CMV, Syphilis, Malaria and additional tests as required by AABB and national regulatory authorities. NAT testing is performed for HIV and HCV viruses in accordance with international requirements.
Additional tests on cord blood at time of transplantation include CD34+ count and viability, CFU assay, HLA testing for donor and recipient, hemoglobinopathies, which is performed on the integrally attached segments to cord blood final storage bag. Additional maternal blood sample is also preserved for future testing purposes (if any).
As per the current ISCT guidelines, we check the mesenchymal stem cells harvested from the cord tissue for its proliferation capacity, adherence to plastic in standard culture conditions; perform marker analysis during retrieval for positive markers (CD90, CD105 and CD73) and negative markers CD34, CD45, CD 19 along with HLA-DR. Click here for more information
Final storage of processed cord blood is in a FDA recommended multi-compartment cryo-bag encased in an overwrap. The bag is kept temporarily in a quarantine freezer, and after it clears infectious disease testing it is moved to a long-term storage cryo-chamber or dewar. The cryo-chambers are kept cold (below -1500 centigrade) in vapor phase of cryogenic (liquid) nitrogen.
Licensing & Accreditation
Currently, LifeCell laboratory holds many registrations, licenses, and accreditation as follows:
- DCGI (Drug Control General of India) licensed
- DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) licensed for R&D
- AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks) for Cord Blood
- AABB for Somatic Cell Therapies
- CAP Accredited (College of American Pathologists)
- US FDA Registered (United States Food and Drug Administration)
- WHO GMP for Blood Establishment
- NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories)
- ICCBBA Registered (International Council for Commonality in Blood Banking Automation)
- ISO 9001:2008 (International Standards Organisation) certified by DNV
- ISMS (Information Security Management System) accreditation
LifeCell has successfully retrieved 39 cryopreserved cord blood units of which 6 were for autologous therapies and 33 for allogenic therapies (data as on December 2015).
- LifeCell understands that the costs of stem cell transplants can be financially challenging and hence it provides Medical Assistance (covering both the cord blood and cord tissue) for a value of INR 20 lakh that covers not just the baby (child), whose stem cells are stored, but also the siblings and parents. Should the stored stem cells not be a suitable match for the siblings or parents or if the baby needs an additional unit, this cover can also be utilized to purchase a matching unit from any public stem cell bank worldwide. On the request of the Client, LifeCell can also make this payment directly to the transplant center.
- Disaster Relief program: The preserved stem cell assets are insured for a value over INR 3 billion. This provides a cover to purchase a replacement unit from any public stem cell bank worldwide in the event of unit loss beyond the reasonable control of LifeCell (covering both the cord blood and cord tissue). This cover also includes transit insurance from the birthing center to our laboratory and also at the time of retrieval, from our laboratory to the patient's transplant center. In such event, LifeCell would try to find a matching sample within 14 days from any public bank in the world, failing which LifeCell would pay INR 20 lakh to the Client.
- As per the patient's transplant physician's opinion, if LifeCell fails to provide viable stem cells during retrieval, then as per our Quality Guarantee program (covering both the cord blood and cord tissue) we would try to find a matching sample within 14 days from any public bank in the world, failing which LifeCell would pay INR 20 lakh to the Client.
- Paramedic support for collection and express shipment to courier the sample to our lab.
- Medical Concierge at no additional cost to provide all transplant related information.
- Testing of Samples at time of retrieval at no additional cost.
- Clinical expansion of stem cells (both mesenchymal and hematopoietic) at time of retrieval.
- Worldwide Shipment of sample at time of retrieval at no additional cost.
- Our Entitlement to Full Refund ensures that in the event the sample is not collected due to the health and life related priority of the baby or mother or unfortunately non-survival of the baby at birth, LifeCell refunds all fees paid by Client.
- Our Storage Insurance ensures that in case of sad demise or physical disability of parent, LifeCell would continue storage of the Specimen at its own cost for the remaining term of the Agreement.
- LifeCell is thankful to its customers for choosing its services and hence as a measure of appreciation it extends a 10% discount on testing and processing fees (INR 2000) upon subsequent sign-ups.
- Annual Preservation Status Report: In an industry exclusive service provided by LifeCell, on every birth anniversary of the Child, LifeCell shall send an Annual Preservation Status Report to the parents, which shall contain monthly temperature data of the cryo-chambers in which the stem cells are being stored which is recorded automatically from our highly advanced temperature monitoring software, thereby assuring the parents that the stem cells are safely stored in accordance to approved Standard Operating Procedures and in compliance with statutory regulations.
The LifeCell Foundation is a non-profit trust founded by LifeCell International. The foundation's objective is to help families in need by facilitating access to the benefits of stem cells.
LifeCell Foundation will provide expectant parents with free stem cell banking service for their baby to support the therapy of the baby’s older sibling, suffering from medical conditions that can be treated using the baby’s stem cells.
Every year, the country sees around 10,000 babies born with Thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder. LifeCell in association with Rotary Club of Chennai Galaxy set out on Project Siranjeevi, with a vision of bringing down the number of Thalassemia births every year in our country from 10,000 to zero, by year 2020. LifeCell has committed a periodic contribution to the corpus fund of the project, towards treatment and awareness programs. LifeCell gives FREE banking to families where an immediate relative has a diagnosis for which transplantation is standard therapy. Discounts are given to military personnel and medical doctors.
On the eve of International Parents Day, LifeCell announced that they are reducing their prices to INR 9,990 for the first year. The benchmark prices are higher in US by >9 times, Singapore by >6 times, and China by >3 times.
Umbilical Cord Banking - Standard Plan
INR 2,000 Maternal Blood Test Charges
INR 4,990 Umbilical Cord Blood Processing Fee
INR 3,000 Umbilical Cord Tissue Processing Fee
INR 9,990 Total amount payable during enrolment (does not include collection fee)
INR 2,000 Dual Storage Set-up Fee (optional)
Annual Storage Fee payable every year on the birth anniversary of the child
INR 3,500 Single Site Storage at Chennai or Gurgaon
INR 4,000 Dual Storage at Chennai and Gurgaon
LifeCell offers several additional services like: