The Ministry of Health has laid the cornerstone of Sheikha Salwa Sabah Al Ahmad Stem Cell and Umbilical Cord Center on a 12,000-sqm plot of land in the Sabah Health Zone at a cost totaling KD 7 million.
Addressing a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction, Dr. Reem Al Radwan, Director of the Department of Blood Transfusion Services at the Ministry of Health said the center will be established in cooperation with KIPCO Group and Masharee Al Khair Charity Organization.
She added: "Stem cell research has led to discoveries that have had a direct impact on the quality of people's lives. People with previously incurable diseases - such as some types of leukemia, disorders of the blood, immune systems and metabolism - now have the chance to embrace a better quality of life with stem cell transplants."
She boasted that this is the Gulf region's first-ever center to be dedicated to stem cell research and the storage of umbilical cords. "This generous donation by KIPCO Group and Masharee Al Khair Charity Organization reflects the private sector's interest in the well-being of the communities in which they operate. Such initiatives are at the heart of our values as Kuwaitis," she said.
She went on to say: "On behalf of the Ministry of Health, represented by the Department of Blood Transfusion Services, we extend our deepest appreciation to KIPCO Group and Masharee Al Khair for taking the lead on such a vital area of medical development."
Al-Radwan pointed out that this center would strongly support the Ministry of Health's national plan to collect and store umbilical cords and stems cells in a state-of-the-art bank."
Speaking at the ceremony, Faisal Al Ayyar, KIPCO's Vice Chairman (Executive) said: "We are honored to be here today, to lay the foundation for the Sheikha Salwa Sabah Al Ahmad Stem Cell and Umbilical Cord Center, which is an important addition to Kuwait's health and medical research efforts.
It is a center that we know will contribute to the development of medical science and research not only in Kuwait, but in the region as a whole."
He added: "This donation, made by KIPCO Group through Masharee Al Khair Charity Organization, stems from our deep belief in the important role that the private sector must play to support government entities, as they step up efforts to keep up with the swift scientific evolution that the world is witnessing.
We look to the future and see people whose lives have been made better thanks to the scientific breakthroughs brought about by stem cell therapy."
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the potential to develop into different cell types with specialized function, such muscle cells, red blood cells or brain cells. As such, stem cells can be used to replace damaged cells that do not normally regenerate themselves. Stem cells come from three sources: embryos, adults and umbilical cords.