The FRC Blood Service maintains the Finnish Stem Cell Registry that has almost 50 000 volunteer donors that have agreed to donate blood stem cells for a patient in need. The Registry is actively recruiting new donors. The Registry helps transplant centers to identify suitable donors for their patients from the Finnish Stem Cell Registry, and, if no suitable donor is found, searches are made in international registries that supply over 30 million potential donors. The Also, the Finnish Cord Blood Bank has over 3000 cord blood units that can be used as alternative stem cell grafts for patients who have no other donor.
The transplantation centres must be authorised by a supervisory authority to carry out haematologic stem cell transplants, and it must meet international accreditation requirements (such as FACT-JACIE). The Stem Cell Registry has a valid permit for operating as a tissue establishment granted by Fimea and a Qualification status granted by WMDA.
The FRC Blood Service also develops and manufactures new advanced cell therapy products (ATMP) and services to be used by Finnish health care providers. The Blood Service carries out active research and development in the field of novel advanced cell therapy products together with Finnish medical research groups and international partners.
Cell therapy products categorized as ATMPs or tissue products are manufactured under appropriate licenses in the cleanroom of the Advanced Cell Therapy Center (ACTC; see video below). The biological starting material for cell therapy products can be collected either from voluntary donors (allogeneic) or from the patient him/herself (autologous). The starting material is then processed in the ACTC’s cleanroom facility, which is required for clinical use of ATMP- and tissue products.
Current cell therapy products produced at the ACTC:
• Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are produced under the EU ‘hospital exemption’ regulation. MSCs are used for treatment of refractory graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) at hematopoietic transplantation centers.
• Autologous keratinocytes are isolated for treatment of severe burn injuries for patients that are treated at the national burn unit at the Helsinki University Central Hospital
The FRC Blood Service’s goal is to be the leading operator in the area of advanced cell therapies in Finland, providing the best and most effective therapies to health care providers, for the best of the patient.