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Oman: Stem cell bank ‘to open soon’

Posted Jul 04 2010 12:00am

The World Health Organization’s “health system ranking” puts the Arab country of Oman at 8th in the world, way ahead of the USA at 37th.  It’s a shame…

but I guess it makes sense that they are moving forward on autologous/adult stem cell research and stem cell banking faster than the US is. -dg

Oman: Stem cell bank ‘to open soon’

26 July 2010

MUSCAT: Stem cell therapy has the potential to radically change the treatment of human disease. Stem cells are the natural repair kit of the human body.

Considering the absorption of such a revolutionary method by advanced countries the Sultanate of Oman is almost on the verge of operating the Stem Cell Bank and establishing a stem cell transplantation unit. According to Dr Muhanna Al Muslahi, senior consultant haematologist and head of directorate of pathology and laboratory medicine, the Royal Hospital, ‘The stem cell bank has been established – tested and connected. Reagents and certain consumables required for harvesting and storing stem cells have been ordered and are on the way. Once they are received stem cell bank will start functioning any time now.’

He said, ‘To begin with, sick patients will be given priority and later when we expand we will store stem cells from all those who want to store them for future treatment. For transplantation unit to be established, special treatment rooms have been made available within the extension of National Oncology Centre. In Oman, the inherited blood disorder disease is not uncommon and so the facility will be a boon to the people of Oman. But the transplantation unit is the second step as first we need the stem cell bank to function which can happen any time now.’

Two staff have been trained at the King Hussein Medical Centre, Jordan – one in stem cell collection and the other in processing and storage. Two other staff have been trained at the Royal Free Hospital in London for six weeks recently. They include Mohammed Ali Al Rawahi, Zahra Al Mahrazi, Fakhra Al Farsi and Suhila.

The department has two doctors under training in Canada and Saudi Arabia and expect them back after two years.

Says Dr Muhanna, ‘Autologous stem cell collection (The autologous stem cell transplant involves relocation of cells from the patient’s own blood) and transplantation unit will also be initiated by the year-end or beginning of 2011 once the expansion of the National Oncology Centre has been completed.’

// He adds, ‘Cold blood storage is also feasible, but it will not be offered at the moment.

It can be considered in the future once the current transplant centres in the country are expanded and the need for cord blood transplants are established justifying the cost of storage and ethical issues behind it.

“In the long term allogenic bone marrow will also be needed to be considered after assessing the projected workload, costs and budgeting requirements and availability of other related services.”By Aftab H Kola

© Times of Oman 2010

via Oman: Stem cell bank ‘to open soon’ .

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