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Thursday, March 1, 2012
Approved stem cells

Independent South African stem cell bank Netcells Cryogenics recently became Africa’s first and only facility to be awarded certified accreditation by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).


Commenting on the announcement Netcells MD, Kim Hulett says, “Accreditation provides our clients with unequivocal assurance that stem cells processed by Netcells are in accordance with the highest standards ensuring they will be accepted by transplant centres around the world.”
Accreditation follows two years of intensive assessment by AABB assessors. Accreditation is important as it promotes excellence in the field of stem cell therapy around the world and ensures a high level of professional and technical expertise contributing to quality performance and patient safety. While Netcells Cryogenics has been a member of the AABB for three years and has been ready for accreditation for quite some time, a physical inspection and accreditation could only take place once a comprehensive audit trail had been completed.
“Quality and safety are of the utmost importance when processing cells that could one day potentially save a life. Netcells will never compromise on this, despite the considerable financial investment into technology and resources required to achieve and maintain these standards. This is particularly meaningful for the many families who have placed their trust in us over the years,” Hulett adds.
Stem cell harvesting is an investment in the future as it can afford families with an invaluable lifeline during a health crisis when a child or even an adult has become seriously ill. Prof Nicolas Novitzky, head of haematology at the University of Cape Town and Chairman of the South African Stem Cell Transplantation Society, has recently raised concern that some locally banked cord blood samples needed for patients requiring transplantation, had been of sub-optimal quality and could therefore not be used.  Netcells Medical Director, Dr Yvonne Holt, says that Netcells has never found itself in this situation but that the accreditation of local facilities could go a long way in raising standards and safeguarding against such an eventuality. “Our formal accreditation attests to the fact that we follow and adhere to the strictest international guidelines and protocols,” she observes.
Dr Holt emphasises that AABB accreditation covers the collection, processing and storage of cord blood, which evaluates each and every aspect of the business. “It is a voluntary assessment programme, which means that accreditation is undertaken only by those facilities that are truly committed to on-going improvement, education and quality.”
The AABB said that it welcomed Netcells to a distinguished group of accredited facilities around the world, especially with Netcells being the only sxuch facility in Africa. The organisation added that its stringent programme assessed the quality and operational systems in place within a facility. The AABB programme is recognised by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare and the Code of Federal Regulations.
 

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:25.3 1st March, 2012
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