To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the current levels of cord blood donation and the donation of umbilical cord in the United Kingdom; how many people with how many diseases have been treated with stem cells derived from cord blood; and what percentage of cord blood is collected for research, cryopreservation or clinical treatment; and what assessment they have made of United Kingdom storage rates vis-à-vis those in Greece, Spain and Portugal. [HL4505]
The NHS Cord Blood Bank has 13,382 units of cord blood stored for clinical use, all of which were cryopreserved. As of December 2008, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) had collected a further 1,871 units for research. Of the units collected for research, 4.9 per cent. were cryopreserved for later use and 95.1 per cent were used fresh. The department has an agreed business plan with NHSBT to increase the number of cord blood units stored from the current level to 20,000 by 2013.
The NHS Cord Blood Bank has issued 260 units of cord blood for clinical transplantation. The following table shows the diseases these units have been used to treat by percentage of the total number issued:
Disease Percentage of total Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia 21.9 Acute Myeloid Leukaemia 21.5 Aplastic Anaemia 7.7 Myelodysplastic syndrome 7.3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma 5.8 Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia 5.0 Severe Combined Immunodeficiency 4.2 Hurler Syndrome 3.1 Hodgkins Lymphoma 1.9 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia 0.8 Other diseases including both malignant and non-malignant disease, such as Multiple Myeloma, Plasma cell leukaemia, Fanconi's anaemia, and sickle cell disease 20.8
Percentage of total
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia
Other diseases including both malignant and non-malignant disease, such as Multiple Myeloma, Plasma cell leukaemia, Fanconi's anaemia, and sickle cell disease
All above figures were correct as of 23 June 2009.
In 2008, as part of a review of the collection and use of umbilical cord blood, the department commissioned a study of current practice in the United Kingdom compared to that found in Canada, China, France, Japan, Spain and the United States. The study produced a report entitled Cord Blood Banking in the UK—an international comparison of policy and practice. A copy was placed in the Library in January 2009. No such comparison has been made for Greece and Portugal.
Over the past 60 or so years, numerous successful treatments involving adult stem cells have been developed, including bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplantation for blood and immune system disorders, corneal transplantation for the victims of acid splashes to the eye and skin grafting for burns victims.
The isolation of human embryonic stem cells first took place in 1998 and their use for the treatment of unmet medical needs, such as Parkinson's disease, is still an aspiration. Progress is being made, but there are still uncertainties about stem cell biology that will only be addressed by considerable amounts of further laboratory and clinical research.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 July 2008 (WA 244–5), 20 January 2009 (WA196–7) and 23 June 2009 (WA 266–7), how the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was previously aware that 35 stem cell lines have been derived under HFEA licences and that no embryonic stem cell lines have yet been derived from cytoplasmic hybrids under HFEA licensed projects if it does not hold data on the number of stem cell lines derived from licensed research projects; whether the authority has a statutory obligation to destroy previously held data; and, if so, under which circumstances. [HL4654]
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is not statutorily obliged to hold data on the number of stem cell lines derived from HFEA licensed research projects and these data are not recorded on the authority's register. However, the HFEA has advised that centres licensed to derive stem cells from embryos may provide this information to the authority as part of their six-monthly progress reports or licence renewal applications.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 does not impose any specific obligation on the HFEA to destroy data. However, the HFEA has advised that, in common with many organisations, it operates a retention policy, which sets out the time periods for which it will continue to retain certain categories of information. This policy is based on best practice, including guidance issued by the National Archives. In relation to personal data, the HFEA is required to comply with the principles in the Data Protection Act 1998, as amended, and, in particular, with principle five which provides that personal data processed for any purpose shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised me that it does not, itself, determine whether embryos are dead. However, the HFEA has also informed me that embryologists are likely to class an embryo as dead if cell division and development has ceased for at least 24 hours.