Victoria Angel’s Core Competencies and Organizational Assets
Victoria Angel Registry of Hope started its public cord blood banking efforts in 2005 as a non-profit organization and a philanthropic division of a family cord blood bank, Cells for Life. Once charitable status was acquired, Victoria Angel became an independent charitable entity.
Victoria Angel has chosen a model of public cord blood banking that is common through the world-wide public banking community. This model uses existing laboratory infrastructure and experience to process and store the donated cord blood units. A contractual business agreement was developed with Cells for Life in accordance with regulatory requirements. This is fiscally responsible and allows donated funds to go directly toward storing more cord blood units. It also affords other specific advantages:
- The laboratory team, with 16 years of experience, consists of experts in the processes of extracting, freezing and storing stem cells from cord blood.
- The Cells for Life program has passed audits and inspections by Health Canada, AABB (Formerly named American Association of Blood Banks) and the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellar Therapy (FACT). Only a few cord blood banks world–wide have these credentials.
- The laboratory is located at Toronto General Hospital and has a bio-repository with the capacity to store approximately 125,000 samples.
- It is also connected to transplant centres with easy access to medical research institutes and the University of Toronto.
- Many hospitals in Southern Ontario have a collaborative relationship with Victoria Angel and Cells for Life, and have supported their efforts in cord blood collection since 1997. Thousands of samples have been collected, making this network of health professionals among the most experienced in Canada. Through continuous training and feedback, these physicians, nurses and midwives constantly improve their technique to collect large samples with high stem cell numbers, low bacterial infection rates and very few labeling errors. High quality collections mean that more samples can be stored.
Victoria Angel opens public cord blood banking to expectant parents giving birth in many hospitals throughout Toronto and surrounding cities. Educational programs have been developed and implemented to help parents and their health care professionals understand public banking and what our program has to offer.
Victoria Angel has surpassed the developmental stages of public cord blood banking and has created a solid foundation and efficient network. With additional funding, Victoria Angel can easily and effectively ramp up the current operations by focusing on increasing the number of applicants that can be accepted into the program. This will increase the number of samples available for medical use and research. Ultimately, it will save lives.
“Every cord blood sample has the potential to save a life; Victoria Angel can be a major contributor in support of Canada’s goal for more cord blood stem cells stored and available to Canadians. The bank has already done the groundwork to establish a fully accredited public cord blood bank. All it needs now is more funding so it can readily ramp up operations.”
Leslie Gallagher Executive Board Member, Victoria Angel Public Cord Blood Bank
President, Core Cryolab Inc.; Vice President Operations & Marketing,
Cells for Life Cord Blood Institute Inc.
Victoria Angel’s Activities
Victoria Angel’s performs many functions throughout the program:
- EDUCATES pregnant parents and health care professionals about cord blood stem cell use and the option of donating blood from a newborn’s umbilical cord.
- SCREENS interested parents who submit registration and health documents.
- PROVIDES CORD BLOOD COLLECTION KITS to accepted parents. Parents take the kit to the birth of their child.
- EDUCATES health care professionals to ensure high-quality cord blood collection techniques are used.
- A physician or midwife collects the cord blood.
- The cord blood is returned to the laboratory at Toronto General Hospital.
- Samples meeting world-wide requirements are processed for medical use: the stem cells are removed, frozen and stored. Other samples are dedicated to research projects.
- COORDINATES all medical testing including HLA tissue typing.
- COORDINATES THE RELEASE OF CORD BLOOD UNITS with medical treatment facilities and physicians.
- WORKS WITH RESEARCHERS to provide them with the necessary cord blood units for their research.
- FUNDRAISES to cover the costs of the public cord blood bank.
Victoria Angel’s Goals
- Increase cord blood donations by raising awareness among Canadian expectant parents between the ages of 18-40, and their birthing professionals.
- Increase access to a larger inventory of high-quality cord blood stem cell units for patients and their physicians.
- Improve the availability and access to cord blood stem cell units for scientific research.
Victoria Angel is committed to raising the necessary funds so the charity can accomplish its mission and vision. It is simple – more funding allows us to accept more cord blood donors into the program. A comprehensive fundraising plan has been developed incorporating strong volunteer support with experienced staff.