Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK: Fighting blood cancer with stem cell therapies

Blood cancer research charity, Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK (LMRUK) was founded in 2015 with the aim to eradicate blood cancer once and for all to protect the next generation.

Since then, the charity has established the Model Cell Biobank, an umbilical cord blood banking service which aims to help reduce the increasing number of people affected by blood cancer every year.

The Model Cell Biobank is the UK’s first umbilical cord blood stem cell storage service which provides either fully-funded or part-funded support for qualifying families to privately store their baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells for health reasons; in particular, improving the prospects of treatment for blood cancer or a genetic disorder.

This bespoke service will cover either a percentage or the full cost for expectant parents depending on the family’s eligibility, which looks at household income and whether there is a history of cancer in the immediate family.

Cord blood stem cells can be stored for 25 years in case the child, or another blood relative needs them, and they can be retrieved at any time.

Cord blood stem cells are currently being used to treat and cure over 80 life-threatening illnesses, including many cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders.

Dr Joanna Tilley, Interim Operations Director for LMRUK, said:

“Storing umbilical cord stem cells is not widely spoken about, but the benefits of using stem cells to fight blood cancer and other diseases and conditions are remarkable.

“Our part-funded and fully-funded service aims to give families who cannot afford to store their baby’s cord blood stem cells the opportunity to do this, particularly if there is a family member in need of treatment or a strong history of blood cancer in the family.

“There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the process of extracting the cord blood stem cells, however, the procedure causes no harm or risk to the baby or the mother, it doesn’t interfere with the birthing process and only occurs after your child is born and both mother and baby are OK. We want to help educate expectant families on the options available to them when it comes to storing their child’s cord blood.”

Stem cell transplants are frequently being used to treat people affected by blood cancer instead of relying on bone marrow transplants.

LMRUK funds vital research into stem cell therapies for blood cancer and raises public awareness of the benefits of such therapies in the treatment of blood cancers.

The charity is proud to once again partner with #UKCharityWeek to raise awareness of the vital research being funded into stem cell therapies in the treatment of blood cancers.

If you would like to show your support or would like to find out more information, visit LMRUK’s website here: https://lmruk.org/.