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Family Bank: Model Cell Biobank

Model Cell Biobank

About

The charity Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK has set up a FREE cord blood banking service -  Model Cell Biobank - for eligible families. Their vision is to be the leading UK blood cancer charity specialising in stem cell therapy. Model Cell Biobank will actively support stem cell research into blood cancers, raise awareness of stem cell therapies, and offer a free stem cell storage service for qualifying families. This unique service will provide the opportunity for parents to store their baby’s cord blood for 25 years in case the child or another member of the family needs them in the future. Please see our on-line brochure that explains the cord blood banking process.

Labs and Locations

Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK Charity has set up Model Cell Biobank. The business address is:
Unit 127, North Mersey Business Centre,
Woodward Road, Knowsley Industrial Park,
Liverpool, Merseyside, L33 7UY,
United Kingdom

The Model Cell Biobank relies on laboratory services of the Biovault Human Tissue Bank laboratory:
Plymouth International Medical and Technology Park,
Derriford, Plymouth PL6 5XP,
United Kingdom

Business Experience

Biovault Family and Biovault Technical are part of the Biovault Scientific Group. Biovault is the UK's largest private human tissue bank and is licensed to handle all human tissue types including cord blood and tissue. Biovault was set up in 2002 to serve public and private health sectors looking to outsource the processing and storage of human tissue to an accredited and experienced expert.

  • Biovault provides tissue banking services for a wide variety of public and private organizations worldwide, including services for the UK National Health Service (NHS).
  • It processes and stores cord blood and tissue in partnership with the NHS.
  • It is the processing and storage centre for the UK NHS South West Peninsula Transplant Service for peripheral blood and bone marrow stem cells.
  • Biovault is the only private tissue bank that works with the NHS and the private sector.
  • Biovault is also the contract lab used by several private cord blood banks in the UK and internationally.

Collection Kit

Biovault is registered as a manufacturer of Medical Devices, which allows them to register their cord stem cell collection kits on the European market under the company’s ISO 13485 Accreditation. The kit allows for gravity collection into a cord blood bag that contains CPD anti-coagulant. The collection kit provides all consumables for the collection of the cord blood and cord tissue as well as the maternal blood sample for the required blood tests. The kit contains chlorhexidine swabs for disinfecting the umbilical cord before collecting the cord blood to reduce contamination of the blood. The collection kit is sterile both inside and out so that it can enter the operating room and be used during a C-section.

Transportation container

Biovault is registered as a manufacturer of Medical Devices, which allows them to register their cord stem cell collection kits on the European market under the company’s ISO 13485 Accreditation. The kit allows for gravity collection into a cord blood bag that contains CPD anti-coagulant. The collection kit provides all consumables for the collection of the cord blood and cord tissue as well as the maternal blood sample for the required blood tests. The kit contains chlorhexidine swabs for disinfecting the umbilical cord before collecting the cord blood to reduce contamination of the blood. The collection kit is sterile both inside and out so that it can enter the operating room and be used during a C-section.

Shipping Info

The charity Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK pays for the transportation of the kit to the laboratory. Biovault has a dedicated customer care team available who will arrange the collection of the sample from the hospital to its facility using a dedicated courier service.

Processing Method

Biovault processes all human samples in clean rooms, and performs both microbiology tests as well as viability tests and stem cell counts (via CD34+ assay). Important aspects of Biovault's stem cell recovery process are automated, but trained technicians are responsible for separating stem cells based on the volume reduction method pioneered by Dr. Pablo Rubinstein at the NY Blood Center.  Because of its unique processes, Biovault has been able to validate their stem cell recovery rate as above 95%.

Components Stored

After red cells and plasma have been removed, the final storage is the "buffy coat" layer of blood that holds both white cells and stem cells.  Small testing portions are also stored in case they are needed for tissue typing or other diagnostic tests. Parents are provided with a certificate describing all test results, including CD 34+ cell counts & cell viability.

Storage Method

Biovault's final storage is in blood bags with two separate compartments in 20/80 ratio. The blood bags are encased in a cassette, both of which are bar code labeled, and the canister is security sealed.  The unit is immersed in a freezer holding the vapour phase of cryogenic nitrogen.

Licensing & Accreditation

Biovault is accredited under: AABB, ISO 9001, ISO 13485, UK HTA, and JACIE.

Clinical Experience

Biovault has stored over 25,000 cord blood collections from more than 10 countries as of January 2015.  Biovault has released 10 cord blood transplants on behalf of private clients, 3 of them for autologous use by the donor baby.  Biovault has additional clinical experience preparing bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells for transplant by both the NHS and private clinics.

Insurance

  • The Biovault laboratory is protected by a 24/7 security system.
  • All essential equipment in the laboratory have data loggers and are monitored 24/7.
  • Biovault has a disaster recovery plan in place which allows all of their cryopreservation tanks to be relocated to another HTA facility until theirs is back to normal.

Prices

The charity Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK pays for all of the services covering collection, processing, and 25 years of storage.

In order to be eligible for the free cord blood banking service, the mum-to-be must meet these criteria:

  • be in receipt of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, or Universal Credit

as well as:

  • if the stem cells from their baby could be used to treat their baby or another child for a medically proven treatment; they would need to provide a recommendation from a specialist
  • if there is any cancer in their immediate family; a confirmation letter from the doctor would be required
Address: North Mersey Business Centre, Woodward Road, Kirkby L33 7UY, United Kingdom