The Israeli National Public Cord Blood Bank (ICBB) was recently established in partnership with Magen David Adom Blood Services, the E.Wolfson Medical Centre, Hadassah-University Hospital, and the
Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre, with the support of the Israel Cancer Association.
Its goal is to save lives by providing stem cells for transplantation and by developing breakthrough technologies that will offer cures for patients with cancers and severe genetic diseases.
As a relatively small and closely interrelated community, worldwide Jewry shares a genetic relationship that makes matching its genetic codes significantly simpler than matching with unrelated individuals in the general population.
The same is true for patients from other minorities who live in Israel.
The work of the Israeli public Cord Blood Bank is targeted to improving the survival rates among patients who are Jewish, or from other minorities which are under-represented in transplantation registries worldwide, by increasing the likelihood of finding a matched stem cell unit.
Donated stem cells must be of a tissue type that closely matches that of the patient.
Since tissue types are genetically inherited, a compatible donor will most likely be a relative or someone who shares the patient’s ethnic background.
Stem cells from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or cord blood can be used for transplantation. Donations can be given by a related match (sibling), unrelated match (a volunteer donor outside the family) or unrelated cord blood unit from the cord blood bank.