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Monday, 4 September 2000

Australian Cord Blood Bank Collects Its 4000Th Donation

The Australian Cord Blood Bank has now collected its 4000th donation. Cord Blood Banking has revolutionised the treatment of children who have life threatening diseases, such as leukaemia and cancer. Cord Blood is rich in stem cells, which are the building blocks of the blood system and can be transplanted to help cure children with these diseases.

Mrs Susan Redmond delivered her first child at the Royal Hospital for Women a fortnight ago. Mrs Redmond wanted to donate cord blood from the placenta after the birth of her baby to offer a life saving opportunity to patients with leukaemia. The cord blood was collected by her Obstetrician, Dr Pickett-Heaps, who said at the time:

'I am delighted to be involved in supporting the Cord Blood Bank programme'.

Professor Marcus Vowels, Director of the Australian Cord Blood Bank at Sydney Children's Hospital said in response:

'The Bank is delighted by the support being provided by the staff of the Royal Hospital for Women and by the mothers. The staff of the Bank are excited and delighted that the purpose for which the Bank was established, namely to provide life saving transplants, is now starting to be realised'.

As the Bank has grown, the number of searches both from within Australia and internationally has increased. The Bank has now sent 200 donations for transplant to patients who had no other therapeutic option available to offer them life. Successful searches have resulted in cord blood donations being sent to transplant centres in Australia, New Zealand, France and America. The twentieth cord blood donation to be used for transplant is being sent to New Zealand on Tuesday 4 September 2000, leaving at 9.30am.

Support from the State and Federal Governments this financial year will allow the program to develop at a much faster pace. The Bank is aiming to achieve a goal of 20,000 cord blood donations of cord blood stored in Australia over the next four years as well as 2,000 donations of Aboriginal cord blood.

For Further Information Contact:

Catharina Boer, Public Affairs ManagerTel: 9382 3571 - Mob:0411 730 842

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