Girona laboratory gains US accreditation to store stem cells
<p>Only five centers in Europe have been granted this prestigious seal</p>
Servibe Cells, a laboratory that specializes in processing and preserving stem cells, has been accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), the US agency that specializes in umbilical cord blood banks. In fact, this seal is the only one in the world for blood banks for cell therapies.
The company has the first internal cell-process laboratory in all of Catalonia (based at the Girona Science and Technology Park) and is only the fifth in Europe to receive this prestigious accreditation, of a total of 117 banks. The AABB makes sure all of the processes comply with demanding safety and quality protocols. Now Servibe Cells, like the rest of the banks with this seal, will have to implement an ongoing-improvement plan that is obligatory for renewing accreditation. The agency will audit the laboratory to make sure the quality systems have been implemented properly.
The Girona-based laboratory was founded in 2008 to preserve stem cells for private use and has become one of the most important companies in the sector in all of Spain, with 12 branches in the country and more than 45 workers. At its facilities, the laboratory validates, processes and cryogenically stores stem cells from umbilical cords to then be sent to European banks such as FamiCord Group, as these samples can only be stored in Spain if they are integrated into the public network of tissues.
The blood in a newborn’s umbilical cord is rich in stem cells and has great therapeutic value, which is what makes this process so important. Servibe Cells, which is working to gain market share, closed 2015 with gross turnover of €5 millions, according to an article in financial journal Cinco Días.
The FamiCord Group provides blood bank services through a European network that has six other laboratories, located in Poland, Turkey, Romania and Hungary. Three of these also have AABB accreditation.