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Victoria Angel Registry of Hope
AboutBank Director: Medical Director: Elisabeth Semple, PhD
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope (VAR) ) is a public banking program and a registered Canadian charity. VAR accepts cord blood donations from over 30 hospitals in southern Ontario. VAR is Health Canada inspected and compliant (CTO #100203) and FACT accredited.
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope is named after a baby, Victoria Angel, whose cord blood stem cells helped to cure her mother’s leukemia. VAR started as a philanthropic division of Cells for Life family bank in 2005. In 2011, VAR became an independent registered Canadian charity. VAR has educated and screened thousands of interested parents, trained collection personnel, and stored approximately 25-30% of all donated cord blood units (compared to industry standard of 15-20%). Approved cord blood units are listed on the BMDW registry and available for search by transplant facilities worldwide. Donated cord blood is also directed to Canadian REB approved scientific research projects.
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope is located Markham, Ontario, and accepts cord blood donations from over 30 hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area. The cord blood units are processed and stored at the Toronto General Hospital, through a contract with Cells for Life Cord Blood Institute. This location provides additional safety features: 24-hour security, emergency back-up power, large liquid nitrogen supply, and easy access to local transplant facilities through the underground hospital tunnel system.
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope is a registered Canadian charity. This public cord blood bank does not receive government funding. Rather it is funded through a number of fundraising events and generous financial donations of committed supporters. Over $2 million has been raised since 2011.
Business Experience and Accomplishments:
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope has successfully passed biannual inspections by Health Canada (CTO # 100203). In addition, VAR has achieved FACT accreditation, an elite designation in cord blood banking. VAR’s Cord Blood Bank Director, Dr. Elisabeth Semple, is an internationally recognized leader in the field of cord blood stem cells. Her years of experience and strict adherence to quality standards have made VAR a credible and reputable Canadian public cord blood bank. Dr. Semple has also been awarded the Platinum Angel Volunteer Award for her exemplary dedication to this charitable public cord blood bank.
International physicians can access VAR’s inventory of medical-grade transplant units through the internatinal BMDW’s registry. In early 2016, VAR released a cord blood unit for medical treatment. Donated by a family in a Toronto-area hospital, the frozen stem cells were shipped over the Atlantic to give medical treatment to a sick patient in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant.
Collection Kit and Shipping:
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope collection kit provides all materials required for safe collection and shipment. Cord blood is collected by trained physicians at birth using the sterile MacoPharma Collection bag, which features a unique CPD flush pad that has been shown to increase the number of collected cells by 13%*. Its unique collection bag is also approved for both caesarian and vaginal births.
VAR arranges the shipping for all donors free of charge, using a stress-free bed-side pickup service. The collection kit is designed to maintain room temperature at all times. The use of a data logger helps monitor the temperature throughout the shipping process to confirm that every unit was safe during transportation.
Processing and Storage Methods:
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope cord blood processing is performed using a semi-automated, closed processing method, which provides high cell recovery rates and excellent cell viability. They use a process referred to as the “top-and-bottom” method. The addition of a starch solution, as done by some companies, is not required with our methods. VAR stores the buffy coat containing the hematopoietic stem cells.
- Cord blood units meeting the criteria for medical use are over-wrapped and stored in 25mL cryobags, with three segments for future testing. Each is barcoded and placed in a stainless steel protective canister.
- Cord blood units are placed in quarantine until passing infectious disease testing.
- Cord blood units are stored in the vapour phase of cryogenic nitrogen in a dedicated MVE cryotank.
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope is:
- Health Canada inspected and compliant (CTO #100203)
- FACT accredited