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Sevibe Cells inaugurated a laboratory devoted to processing and preserving blood from umbilical cords in order to extract stem cells yesterday. This facility, the first of its kind in Catalonia, is located in the Giroemprèn Building at the Girona Science and Technology Park.

The laboratory, which has been up and running since this summer, validates, processes and cryopreserves stem cells from umbilical cords to later be transported to European banks that Sevibe Cells has collaboration agreements with. In Spain, the legal framework authorizes private companies to process these samples as long as they are stored in a country that legally allows it, like Germany or Poland.

The company has reduced the time it takes to transport an umbilical-cord sample from any point in Spain to Girona to a maximum of 26 hours. This means that the viability of samples received by the laboratory has increased to 98%. The laboratory has the capacity to process up to ten samples –which are extracted immediately after birth— each day.

Before being processed, each sample passes through quality control in order to ensure its viability. Afterwards, samples are processed using a cell fractionation system that isolates the stem cells and collects them in a 25-ml bag that is stored inside a protective cassette in order to ensure proper cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen tanks. These tanks can hold up to 5,000 samples to be transported to the PBKM Bank in Poland or Innova Stem Bank in Germany.

The company is currently participating in a line of research headed by Dr. Antoni Bayés Genís, head of the Cardiology Unit at the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital in Badalona. At the inauguration event, which also included specialists in gynecology like Dr. Santiago Palacios and Dr. Dariusz Boruczkowski, Dr. Bayés Genís explained that this study has discovered that umbilical-cord stem cells are able to regenerate damaged arteries. This breakthrough would allow doctors, for example, to reduce the effects of a heart attack.

All three experts agreed on the need to increase the amount of information gynecologists and midwives give to expectant mothers regarding the different options available for preserving stem cells from their child’s umbilical cord, as this is one of the main lines of research in biomedicine and regenerative medicine.

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