bacteria2_174x129Virgin Health Bank (VHB) was founded by Sir Chris and Sir Richard Branson to focus on the emerging stem cell sector. Sir Chris was instrumental in bringing together the Virgin brand and basing the business in the Middle East in Doha, Qatar.

Its success to date has been created through close partnership with the Qatar Science and Technology Park in Doha, spearheaded by Dr Tidu Maini and backed by The Qatar Foundation created by HH Sh. Moza. VHB has now formed collaborations with all of the hospitals in Qatar and is actively banking the stem cells from newborn infants there.

virgin_health_bank_qstp_mainimage_220x115Many scientists and medical experts believe that there will be many future breakthroughs in stem cell science and regenerative medicine. The creation of large public banks to benefit international populations as a whole will also depend on the collection and long term storage of sufficient quality stem cells around the world. Stem cells have the ability to grow into any type of cell- cardiac, neural, pancreatic and so on. Eventually tissues and organs will be regenerated using specific types of stem cells.

storage_tank_177x171Adults have only a limited source of the appropriate stem cells. One of the most promising pools are stem cells from discarded umbilical cord at birth. Umbilical cord-blood stem cells are increasingly being used in preference to other sources of stem cells for conditions such as leukaemia and thalassemia as evidence shows that umbilical cord blood stem-cell transplants result in fewer complications.

VHB therefore offers the opportunity for parents to store umbilical cord stem cells for their children. It provides the highest quality service in collecting and banking and making stem cells available for a parents needs today and to ensure they’re available for the regenerative medicines of tomorrow.

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VHB’s business has been endorsed as compliant with Shariah law by Islamic scholars and has been received extremely positively by key opinion leaders in UK and internationally for its ethical and regulatory compliance.

virgin_health_bank-_the_times_208x175VHB was also one of the first start-up companies from Europe to locate its global headquarters at the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) in Doha, and from  this base is developing operations in both the Middle East, Asia and Europe. It is planned that Qatar’s medical authorities will explore the use of their own country’s stem cell bank as part of a national public-health program.  Such a program would create a unique and comprehensive source of stem cells for the indigenous Middle Eastern population and would facilitate clinicians to source a matched tissue typed stem cell unit when a transplant is needed.