Missing stem cells: Thousands of NL parents potentially affected
Stem cell bank Cryo-Save moved the umbilical cords it stores on behalf of parents to Poland, but part of that material has gone missing, according to newspaper AD. That left thousands of parents worried about the storage of their children's stem cells. Many parents have no idea where they stand. They are receiving unclear emails from different parties, and are unable to reach the company itself, the newspaper writes.
Cryo-Save has around 230 thousand customers worldwide, including several thousand in the Netherlands. Customers sent the company blood and pieces of umbilical cord immediately after the birth of their child, to freeze and store in the event of the child becoming sick in future, so that it could be used for stem cell therapy.
According to AD, Cryo-Save's activities are scientifically controversial and even prohibited in some European countries. Under pressure from governments and financial problems, Cryo-Save moved 330 thousand samples of genetic material to the Polish company Famicord last year. This happened without the permission of the parents or the authorities. And a number of tanks are missing, the newspaper writes.
Authorities in multiple countries, including Belgium and Switzerland, are currently investigating the relocation of the material to Poland.
Famicord contacted parents, asking the to sign a contract with the company. But Dubai-based company CSG Bio, which took over Cryo-Save, also claims that it has taken over Cryo-Save's stem cell activities and are advising parents not to go with the Polish company. Meanwhile, parents have no idea where their children's stem cells actually are.