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Umbilical cord blood processing with the UK’s leading stem cell company

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About us

Smart Cells were incorporated in July 2000.

Using state of the art technology, we’re ensuring we are a technologically advanced and innovative company in the field. We have released a number of cord blood units for clinical use worldwide and are continuing to do so.

Proven service

If your child’s stem cells are needed for a transplant we are able to retrieve the stored unit and prepare it for transport to a treating clinic very quickly and easily. We have released stored units which have been used in transplants.

Smart Cells has transported stored stem cell units to treatment centres in Singapore, Germany, United States of America, India and the UK. Two of these units were used in the treatment of two children suffering from Thalassaemia, and both children are very healthy and free from the disease. Further samples were released for the treatment of Leukemia and Thalassaemia.

Smart Cells has transported units of stored stem cells to Duke University in North Carolina, USA, where clients have had their children infused with these stem cells in a formal clinical trial to help treat Cerebral Palsy. Further samples have been released to Duke University for the treatment of HSV Encephalitis, NMDA Receptor Antibody Encephalitis and Severe Combined Immune Deficiency.

Smart Cells have released a total of 19 samples of stem cells for clinical use. More samples than any other private cord blood company in the UK.

CEREBRAL PALSY
30.00%
THALASSEMIA
20.00%
LEUKAEMIA
20.00%
HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE)
10.00%
HSV ENCEPHALITIS
5.00%
SICKLE CELL DISEASE
5.00%
SEVERE COMBINED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY
5.00%
AUTISM
5.00%

EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE

We never forget what the science is being used for – people. Exceptional customer service has been important to us since we started and our founder is still actively involved in the running of the business. We even have a world class advisory board to make sure our focus remains human.

ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGES

Some companies hide extra costs, such as your phlebotomy service (UK only), maternal blood testing or shipping fees. We have plain and simple service plans that inform you of all charges upfront. You can rely on us to make sure that there are no hidden costs.

DEDICATED UK PHLEBOTOMY SERVICE

We have a team of phlebotomists (blood collection specialists in UK only) operating on a 24/7 basis. This service has dedicated staff, emergency telephone numbers and call out personnel which save you the inconvenience of having to find, book and manage this service for yourself.

TRULY INTERNATIONAL COMPANY

Smart Cells has stored umbilical cord blood samples for clients around the world. We have collected, exported and imported samples from over 70 countries to date. Based close to London Heathrow airport – we minimise transportation times for customers around the globe.

Our laboratory

Our laboratory uses state of the art equipment designed to process cord blood as quickly as possible. All processing procedures are undertaken in a sterile, controlled environment by specially trained staff.

  • We use the industry standard system for cord blood processing – the Biosafe Sepax system
  • The facility is based close to London Heathrow airport – minimising transportation times for customers around the world
  • Our Advanced Facilities Management System continually monitors the environment; it’s alarmed and has an uninterruptible power supply in case of a mains electricity failure
  • We hold a licence from the Human Tissue Authority

Smart Cells International (SCI) Quality Assurance

At SCI we take quality assurance very seriously and have a comprehensive and ongoing approach to validations and auditing of all critical processes and products. Our Quality Management System which applies to all activities undertaken by SCI, has been developed to meet the company’s high standards and is compliant with HTA regulations and ISO standards. Where possible, SCI aligns its practices and procedures with internationally recognised standards that apply to transplantation: NetCord-FACT International Standards for Cord Blood Collection, Banking, and Release for Administration and The Joint Accreditation Committee of the International Society for Cellular Therapy and the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (JACIE).

The laboratory and quality assurance:

We have a state of the art processing and storage laboratory which is monitored 24/7 and operated by trained and experienced technical staff. All samples collected on behalf of clients are fully traceable throughout their journey which includes testing, receipt, processing, cryopreservation, storage and release for treatment if required. Samples are safely stored in vapour phase nitrogen at temperatures so low that all the metabolic processes of the cells cease. Remarkably, these cells, if correctly handled, can be thawed and restored such that they can go on to grow and multiply in a patient undergoing transplant treatment.

We run validations to confirm that our processing laboratory consistently exceeds the standards of the current European Guide to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Annex 1 of Directive 2003/94/EC. In this way, we can confirm that all samples are processed in ultra-clean conditions.

Every cord blood (CB) and cord tissue (CT) sample is transported to the laboratory as quickly as possible invalidated, temperature monitored transit containers.

Cord blood:

Following receipt and careful checking, all CB samples are tested for full blood and viable CD34 stem cell counts in-house. To ensure that our testing is consistently accurate we participate in independent UK External Quality Assurance Schemes (NEQAS). All samples are also tested for sterility by an accredited UK NHS laboratory. CB samples undergo skilled aseptic processing and storage in the laboratory. At SCI, we use the SepaxTM cord blood processing system which is an automated and functionally-closed technology developed specifically for processing cell therapy products. The system produces high quality, high yield volume reduced stem cell-enriched cord blood products for clinical use. The SepaxTM technology is used worldwide in both public and private cord blood banks and has a significant track record in the production of cellular therapy products that have been widely and successfully used in clinical practice.

To ensure good practice, we validate all our processing and cryopreservation procedures at least twice annually by thawing test aliquots to check cell numbers and viable cell recovery.

Cord tissue:

As far as CT samples are concerned, all undergo sterility testing in the same NHS laboratory that we use for CB testing. Following processing, several small test segments are reserved for each sample that we store. Representative batches of these are sent to an independent laboratory for viability testing, cell culture and also immunophenotyping, which checks the type of stem cells in the tissue. These validation tests are run at least twice per year and can also be arranged should a sample be proposed for use.

SCI presented and published details of their approach to validation of CT under varying transit conditions at the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation annual meeting in 2016. (1 and 2)

(1).  M.A. Smith et al. The effect of time and temperature during transportation of umbilical cord tissue on viability, functionality and differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells following cryopreservation and thawing. P038; S129 130. http://www.nature.com/articles/bmt201648

(2)  View the poster presented here.

HTA Licenced

Smart Cells are licenced by The Human Tissue Authority and our licence number is 22522. With the interests of the public and those they regulate at the centre of our work, they aim to maintain confidence by ensuring that human tissue is used safely and ethically, and with proper consent. The HTA regulate organisations that remove, store and use tissue for research, medical treatment, post-mortem examination, teaching and display in public. They also give approval for organ and bone marrow donations from living people.

You can read the cord blood banking guide for parents on the HTA wesbite.

Make sure that the cord blood bank that you choose is not simply a marketing outlet. Some companies do not perform their own processing or storage. Smart Cells International owns and operates it’s own state-of-the art processing, testing and storage facility. We are in complete control of every step in our establishment to ensure high quality cord blood products. Your cord blood and tissue sample is processed and stored at our facility which is situated 3 miles from Heathrow Airport so that all UK and international samples arrive here as quickly as possible. We have collected samples from over 70 countries and have offices in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and the Far East.

BS EN ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for the highest level quality management system.

The standard is based on a number of quality management principles focussing on consistently providing products and services that (i) meet customer (and applicable statutory and regulatory) requirements, and (ii) enhances customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system.

Smart Cells use industry standard stem cell enumeration technology. We participate in the UK NEQAS CD34 stem cell enumeration scheme which ensure that our testing is reliable and accurate.

Compare us

At Smart Cells we don’t mind admitting that we haven’t stored the most samples, we haven’t acquired unnecessary accreditations or licences and we might not always be the first choice for every customer.

However, you are taking a pioneering decision to store your baby’s stem cells and potentially secure their wellbeing. For this reason we are proud to be the first company in the UK to offer this service. Our focus is you, the customer, and we are the only company to provide you with a comparison table that doesn’t just favour ourselves.

We don’t need to play with the truth. We take a unique view of comparisons and think it is best to be open and honest about the information we provide to you. See for yourself by checking out our comparison table.

Company Smart Cells Future Health Cells 4 Life
Founders of private cord blood storage in the UK
UK’s first private cord blood storage company
Year established 2000 2002 2002
Number of laboratories 1 2 2
Most cord blood samples released for transplant
International offices 21 38 15
Services Smart Cells Future Health Cells 4 Life
Cord blood volume reduced processing **Recommended**
Cord blood whole blood processing
Cord tissue processing
Free transportation of sample if required for treatment
All samples processed and stored in the UK
Group B Streptococcus testing
Omega -3 DHA testing in breast milk
Omega -3 DHA testing in third trimester
Stem cell insurance
Non invasive prenatal testing
Samples Releases Smart Cells Future Health Cells 4 Life
First UK private company to release a cord blood sample for treatment
Most number of successful cord blood samples released for treatment
Number of cord blood samples released for treatment 20 8 7
Cord blood samples released for Autologus (self) use
Cord blood samples released for Allogeneic (sibling) use
Number of cord tissue samples released for use in transplant 0 1 1
Regulatory & accreditations Smart Cells Future Health Cells 4 Life
HTA Licenced
HTA Licence number 22522 22503 11083
UK Neqas
ISO 9001
AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) licence
HFEA (Human Fertilisation & Embryology) licence
MHRA (Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency) licence
NAP (National Association of Phlebotomists) Approved
Extra Benefits Smart Cells Future Health Cells 4 Life
24 hour on call customer service team
London based office
London based laboratory
First choice and best location for London births
Flexible payment plans available up to 12 months
Dedicated blood registered courier service
Same day and next day delivery service available for stem cell collection kit
10 st
UK'S FIRST CORD BLOOD STORAGE COMPANY
0 +
BABY'S CORD BLOOD STORED WITH US
0
YEAR OF FIRST RELEASE FOR TRANSPLANT
0
SAMPLES RELEASED

Meet our experts

Our Partner

Smart Cells is proud to be a Founding Donor to Borne, a collaboration between the Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity and the world class maternity team at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. Premature birth is responsible for over 70% of long term disabilities and deaths in newborn babies. Borne is the first initiative aiming to use groundbreaking research into treatments and education to prevent disability and death in childbirth and improve the lifelong health of mothers and babies.

Led by Professor Mark Johnson, Consultant Obstetrician and Chair of Clinical Obstetrics, Imperial College London, Borne’s aim is to translate this research into healthy new life by developing a greater understanding of the causes of premature birth, how to prevent it and developing treatments to protect the unborn child.

Borne is investing in 3 critical areas:

  • Pioneering research to understand how to prevent premature birth, heart disease in pregnancy and treatments to prevent cerebral palsy
  • Supporting and training maternity teams in high, middle and low income countries
  • Developing new innovations that tackle the greatest risks to mothers and newborns and preventing unnecessary complications in childbirth

Borne is close to breakthroughs which will save and improve mothers’ and babies’ lives. Our work may be the difference between life and death for 2,000 babies in the UK every year and will benefit up to 50,000 mothers and newborns across the world.

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PEOPLE WE WORK WITH

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