Turning ten is always a special milestone and that has definitely been the case for Future Health in 2012. As Europe’s first accredited private family stem cell bank and a UK Queen’s Award recipient we’ve been marking a decade as a pioneer in the expert collection and cryopreservation of stem cells for potential future use in medical treatments.
Our celebrations began literally on 1 January when it was announced that UK Managing Director Roger Dainty had been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for services to scientific research and training. Roger has been with Future Health since the beginning and as well as being responsible for guiding the company through the first and then successive regulatory accreditations, he has also spearheaded the expansion of services beyond umbilical cord blood storage and been the driving force behind the company’s research program.
Linked to these important initiatives, early 2012 also saw the arrival of our dedicated New Products and Research Manager, Tabasum Farzaneh. With a strong background in molecular biology, hematology and stem cell science, Tabasum has already made an impact on the development of new services including our Tooth Cell service which went live in the spring and is already attracting strong interest from parents and dentists. We are constantly looking for opportunities to spread the word about the benefits of stem cells banking and in early May, we welcomed BBC television’s most watched current affairs program, The One Show, to Nottingham, to make a film about the process of stem cell preservation. Watched by an estimated 5 million viewers nationwide, the highly positive three-minute feature looked at what stem cells can do as well as why parents might choose to store them for potential future medical use within the family.
By the summer, we were celebrating the success of just such an important medical use with the news of a cord blood transplant from a sample held by Future Health into a 16-year old boy suffering from Fanconi’s Anemia. This is a life-threatening condition that affects the bone marrow’s ability to make healthy blood cells. Doctors had been unable to find a bone marrow match but the cord blood stem cells from his baby sister, born in 2010, proved to be a perfect match for the teenager. The operation was a complete success and after just over a month in hospital Laith went home with his blood counts back to healthy levels and looking forward to a enjoying a full and active life – something neither he nor his parents had thought possible.