Smart Cells are the first UK private storage company to release stored samples for use in transplants

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We have now released more samples for clinical use than any other private cord blood company in the UK.

This significant milestone for the private cord blood storage industry highlights the advances being made in stem cell research and puts a spotlight on a service that many parents-to-be are still unaware of.

Smart Cells are the UK’s first private cord blood company and in its 19 years since the company was founded, has released samples to patients all over the world to treat a variety of conditions including Cerebral Palsy, Thalassemia, Leukaemia and HSV Encephalitis.


Cord blood samples released to date

The potential for stem cells to replace damaged cells and tissues is an exciting one and stem cells are currently being used to treat more than 80 diseases.

“The release of these samples signifies something very important; that stem cell technology is one of the most exciting areas of science in our time. We have released more samples in the last four years than in the first 13, which says that this evolving area of medical science is making big steps in a positive direction.”

Smart Cells Founder and CEO Shamshad Ahmed

Cord blood samples used by Smart Cells customers

Our customers and their stories

Asia’s Story

During pregnancy, a friend of ours talked to us about the possibility of storing the stem cells contained in our baby’s cord blood. We were fascinated with the idea and, wishing to understand [...]

Mohammed Ahmed

Mohammed Ahmed and his family are currently living in United Arab Emirates. In December 2008 they got in touch with us to discuss the possibility of storing their unborn child's umbilical cord blood.

Kyle & Carla Poppleton

Kyle & Carla are currently living in Botswana. In December 2012 they got in touch with us to discuss the possibility of storing their unborn child's umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells.

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Cerebral Palsy

Neurological Disorder

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Neurological Disorder

Severe Combined Immune Deficiency

Immune Disorder


Blood Disorder

HSV Encephalitis

Neurological Disorder


Autism Spectrum Disorder



Sickle Cell Disease

Blood Disorder

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is the general term for a number of neurological conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. Neurological conditions are caused by problems in the brain and nervous system.

Specifically, cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles. The condition can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.

It is estimated that 1 in 400 people in the UK is affected by cerebral palsy. (1)


The leukaemias are a group of cancers of the blood and bone marrow. Broadly speaking, these diseases can be classified as acute or chronic. Some leukaemias, particularly in the acute category, can progresses rapidly and aggressively and thus requires prompt treatment, whereas others are slower to progress.

The leukaemias are classified according to the cell type and chromosomal problems associated with the cancer.

Leukaemia incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older men and women. In the UK, around 9,000 people are diagnosed each year with leukaemia. (3)

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a birth injury that describes oxygen starvation that happens to the infant brain. There can be severe neurological impairment and damage to other organs as a result. (5)


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a range of similar conditions, including Asperger syndrome, that affect a person’s social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.

In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. It’s estimated that about 1 in every 100 people in the UK has ASD. More boys are diagnosed with the condition than girls.(8)


Thalassaemia is an inherited condition, which means it can be passed on from parents to children. It’s not known exactly what causes the genetic mutations associated with thalassaemia. However, it’s likely they’ve they have persisted in certain areas of the world as carriers of the condition (both alpha and beta thalassaemia) are protected against malaria.

This is why thalassaemia and other related genetic blood disorders, such as sickle cell anaemia, are more common in parts of the world where malaria is a problem, including certain Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Italy, the Middle East, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. (2)

HSV Encephalitis & NMDA Receptor Antibody Encephalitis

Infantile (HSV) Encephalitis is an uncommon but serious condition caused by a virus. This can lead to inflammation and damage to the brain. (4)

Severe Combined Immune Deficiency

Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is the name given to a group of rare inherited disorders which cause severe abnormalities of the immune system.

This happens when white blood cells, responsible for fighting infection, are missing or working poorly. Their absence or poor function results in serious and often life threatening infections. (6)

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell anaemia is a serious inherited blood disorder where the red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, develop abnormally.

The disorder mainly affects people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian origin. In the UK, sickle cell disorders are most commonly seen in African and Caribbean people. (7)

Sample Release Date Medical Condition Recipient Relationship Recipient Age Unit Volume Medical Centre Country
Nov 2005 Thalassemia Allogeneic (Sibling) 4 Years 144ml Mount Vernon Hospital Singapore
Nov 2006 Leukaemia Allogeneic (Sibling) Restricted Restricted Stem Cells and Immunology Department, Birmingham UK
Feb 2007 Thalassemia Allogeneic (Sibling) 7 Years 76ml Kinderlink der Tu Munchen Germany
Aug 2009 Cerebral Palsy Autologous (Self) 3 Years 51ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Jan 2010 Cerebral Palsy Autologous (Self) 3 Years 81ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Apr 2011 Acute Lymphomatic Leukaemia Allogeneic (Sibling) 8 Years 130ml Royal Marsden Hospital UK
Oct 2013 Thalassemia Allogeneic (Sibling) 5 Years 58ml Catherine Lewis Centre, Hammersmith UK
Jan 2014 Leukaemia Allogeneic (Sibling) 4 Years 71ml Medizinische Hochschule, Hanover Germany
May 2014 Cerebral Palsy Autologous (Self) 1 Year 68ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Jun 2014 HSV Encephalitis & NMDA Receptor Antibody Virus Autologous (Self) 2 Years 57ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Aug 2014 Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Autologous (Self) 3 Months 39ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Feb 2015 Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Autologous (Self) 6 Months 53ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Mar 2015 Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Allogeneic (Sibling) 3 Months 74ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Mar 2015 Sickle Cell Disease Allogeneic (Sibling) 2.5 Years 57ml BLK Hospital, New Delhi India
Nov 2015 Thalassemia Allogeneic (Sibling) 12 Years 87ml Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC USA
Mar 2016 Cerebral Palsy Allogeneic (Sibling) 6 Years 101ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Apr 2017 Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (^1) n/a (Identical twin girls) Restricted 125ml Bambin Gesu Childrens’ Hospital, Rome Italy
Jun 2017 Cerebral Palsy Autologous (Self) 7 Years 82ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Jun 2017 Cerebral Palsy Autologous (Self) 3.5 Years 132ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Mar 2018 Autism Autologous (Self) 5.4 Years 73ml Duke University, North Carolina USA
Jun 2019 Cerebral Palsy Allogeneic (Sibling) 3 Years 104.57ml Duke University, North Carolina USA

(^1) Cord blood unit released by SCI used to help define the origin of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in twins

A unit of cord blood has recently been released by SCI to the Bambin Gesu Childrens’ Hospital in  Rome where twin girls both suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia have been treated.  As leukaemia is known to be associated with certain problems in chromosomes, the hospital requested that the umbilical cord blood unit which contains cord blood from both twins be sent for detailed chromosomal analysis. It is recognized that acute lymphoblastic leukemia developing in twins under the first year of age is likely to be linked at least in part, to a chromosomal mutation that occurred while the babies were developing in utero. 

Although, this cord blood unit was originally banked for potential future therapeutic use, the parents and clinical team looking after the children, felt that analysis of the blood would provide a unique and invaluable opportunity to define the key chromosomal abnormality in detail.  This in turn, will assist in the prognostic assessment and ongoing treatment of the children.  

Although this was an not typical use of cord blood, SCI were keen and very happy to assist the parents and clinical team in Rome on behalf of the twins.

International Shipping


We have successfully released and shipped samples to 6 different countries including United States of America(x12), United Kingdom(x3), Germany(x2), Italy(x1), Singapore(x1) and India(x1).

Age of Recipient


Stored cord blood samples have been successfully released for use in transplant for children aged as little as 3 months to 12 years old.

Stem cell storage for the whole family

52% SELF | 48% SIBLING

We have successfully released stored cord blood samples that have been used for treatment with the child it was collected from and also siblings.

YouGov Survey

A recent YouGov survey found that almost 8 in 10 parents felt more should be done to educate them about stem cell storage

Visit our YouTube channel to watch a short video for more information

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