A placenta blood bank was open for public donations in Beijing Sunday as a proactive measure to fight leukemia, Monday's Beijing Morning Post reported.
Parents can have their children's placenta blood stored in the bank for use later should their children be diagnosed with leukemia, doctors said.
Zheng Weiwei, a doctor from the bank, said that blood in the placenta after birth has proved as effective as bone marrow in saving children with leukemia and people with immune system disorders.
Treatment that uses placenta blood has fewer side effects and is cheaper than bone marrow transplantation, Zheng said.
Dr. Lu Min, an expert with the bank, said that placenta blood has also been successfully used to cure cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and serious burns.
A couple from north China's port municipality of Tianjin became the first parents to put their child's placenta blood in a blood bank on April 18, 2001. A month later, a similar blood sample was stored in Beijing. Experts said these samples can be preserved indefinitely.
Several non-profit blood banks have been set up in Tianjin, Shandong, Beijing and Guangdong.
Doctors said that collection of placenta blood does not endanger either mother or child.
(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2001)