Founded in 2013, the Association of Cryobanks of Umbilical Cord Blood, Other Human Cells and Tissues is the only specialized organization in Ukraine that unites licensed biobanks, biotechnological companies, specialized clinics and research institutes engaged in cryopreservation and clinical use of biomaterial. The mission of the Association of Cryobanks is the development of biobanking of human cells and tissues in Ukraine, improvement of legal regulation of the industry, guarantees of legitimate, safe and effective use of cell and tissue grafts.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in 2020, affected the activities of virtually all industries, education, science, medicine and NGOs, as quarantine limits the opportunities to hold conferences, symposia and other public events. Nevertheless, the Association of Cryobanks has managed to continue to implement its mission and objectives, and the field of biobanking of umbilical cord blood stem cells, other cells and human tissues in Ukraine has remarkable achievements in this difficult 2020.
Active educational and public activities
An important part of the Association of Cryobanks functioning is active participation in numerous educational projects aimed at raising awareness of future parents about the value of perinatal tissues (umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord, placenta) and the possibility of their long-term storage. The Association of Cryobanks of Umbilical Cord Blood, Other Human Cells and Tissues annually supports international initiatives in Ukraine to hold the “Cord Blood Awareness Month” and the “World Cord Blood Day”. Because of quarantine restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most activities were conducted online with the support of experts from the Institute of Cell Therapy.
Cooperation with international professional communities
In 2020, the co-founder and a full member of the Association of Cryobanks, the first Cryobank of Ukraine – Institute of Cell Therapy became a member of the leading international organization of umbilical cord blood banks – Cord Blood Association. Also, employees of organizations that are members of the Association of Cryobanks are members of such professional associations as the International Society for Cell Therapy (ISCT), the International Society for Placental Stem Cell Research (IPLASS), the International Federation of Placenta Associations, the International Society for Stem Research. cells (ISSCR). Thus, the Association of Cryobanks receives information on the latest achievements of biobanking of perinatal tissues (umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord, placenta) and regenerative medicine.
Participation in international scientific projects in the field of perinatal tissue research (umbilical cord blood, placenta, umbilical cord)
Implementation of high-tech and socially important research in the field of biobanking, cell and molecular biology, regenerative medicine today is possible only with the integration of the best research centers in the world and the efforts of leading scientists from different countries. Ukraine, in particular through the Institute of Cell Therapy, has participated in the implementation of such important international research projects as Thymistem and Cost Action CA17116, funded by the European Union’s Horizon programs. During 2020, the Institute of Cell Therapy participated in the implementation of the international research project “International Network for Translating Research on Perinatal Derivatives into Therapeutic Approaches” in accordance with the objectives of Working Group 4 “Clinical Research”. The Institute of Cell Therapy in this project is represented by the Deputy Director of Cryobank, Dr. Shabliy VA., PhD, Senior Researcher.
Publication of the professional journal “Cell and Organ Transplantology” and its indexing in Scopus
Since 2013, with the informational support of the Association of Cryobanks and financial support of the Institute of Cell Therapy, an exclusive for Ukraine scientific and practical journal “Cell and Organ Transplantology” has been published. The journal is intended for a wide range of physicians, scientists, medical and biology students who are interested or working in the field of cell and organ transplantation. The journal is included in the list of professional publications of Ukraine and is indexed in Scopus. The journal is also registered in the Pubmed database and is indexed in Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, NLM Catalog, CiteFactor, International Scientific Indexing and Open Academic Journals Index.
Implementation of NFDU grant projects
In 2020, the co-founder and full member of the Association of Cryobanks – Institute of Cell Therapy became a grant recipient of the competition “Science for Human Security and Society”, held by the National Research Foundation of Ukraine. The theme of the project is “Study of the state of the respiratory, cardiovascular and immune systems in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia after transplantation of cryopreserved allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells.” The project is implemented jointly with the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics of NASU, Kyiv City Hospital №4 and the L.V. Gromashevsky Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine. The Project is headed by Dr. VA Shabliy, PhD, Senior Researcher, Deputy Director of the Institute of Cell Therapy Cryobank.
A clinical study “Treatment of coronavirus COVID-19 pneumonia (SARS-CoV-2 pathogen) with cryopreserved allogeneic multipotent mesenchymal placental stem cells” has been launched in Ukraine
Immediately responding to the first reports from China about the effectiveness of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of severe COVID-19, doctors and scientists at the Institute of Cell Therapy developed a method of treating coronavirus pneumonia using placental mesenchymal stem cells. In March 2020, jointly with Kiev Municipal Clinical Hospital №4 a clinical trial “Treatment of coronavirus COVID-19 pneumonia (SARS-CoV-2 pathogen) with cryopreserved allogeneic multipotent mesenchymal placental stem cells” started under the auspices of the Coordination Center for Organ, Tissue and Cell Transplantation of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
A post-COVID rehabilitation and treatment program for chronic COVID is available in Ukraine
It has been established that obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result in patients with coronavirus infection does not always mean recovery, and most patients have long-term dysfunction of various organs and neuropsychological activity. In medicine, the term “chronic COVID” has even been introduced. The Institute of Cell Therapy has developed a program for the treatment of chronic COVID and post-COVID rehabilitation, aimed at returning the patient to a full life as soon as possible.
Clinical study “Evaluation of the effectiveness of bone marrow and placenta stem cells in the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis” launched in Ukraine
In January 2020, the Institute of Cell Therapy together with the Institute of Orthopedics and Traumatology of NAMSU and Kiev Municipal Clinical Hospital №6 launched a new clinical trial “Evaluation of the effectiveness of bone marrow and placenta stem cells in the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis.” World-famous football player and coach of the national team of Ukraine Andriy Shevchenko is one of the first patients who experienced the effectiveness of cell therapy in joint disease. All biological products for the treatment of patients in a clinical trial are manufactured by Cryobank.
Ukrainian Biobank has confirmed the prestigious international accreditation ISO 9001:2018
One of the guarantees of the provision of quality services by the biobank is that the company has a license from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and international accreditations. The latter confirm that the management and all processing operations of the biobank are carried out in accordance with international standards, and the biological products manufactured by the cryobank are safe and effective. In Ukraine, the first umbilical cord blood bank to receive ISO international accreditation in 2013 is the Cryobank of the Institute of Cell Therapy, co-founder and a full member of the Association of Cryobanks. In 2020, the Institute of Cell Therapy confirmed for the third time its compliance with this important international quality certificate – ISO 9001:2018. The Association of Cryobanks also encourages other umbilical cord blood banks in Ukraine to obtain international accreditations, including ISO.