Japanese authorities are considering plans to collect and freeze cells from engineers and water cannon operators at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in case they are exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.
The proposal has been drawn up as a precautionary measure that potentially could save the lives of workers if they receive high doses of radiation while battling to bring the damaged nuclear reactors under control. (HWM and BBC)
- High levels of radiation can cause serious illness and death from bone marrow failure, but the condition can be treated if patients are seen quickly enough and given transplants of blood stem cells collected before they are exposed.
The Bottom Line: Could this be a tremendous opportunity and validation for the many stem cell companies, collection and stem cell banking universe? Storing stem cells now assures individuals stem cells will be available, if needed, in the future to treat a chronic or catastrophic illness. The procedure requires workers to take a drug for several days that causes their bone marrow to release stem cells, which are then collected. The procedure is already used to treat cancer patients whose bone marrow is destroyed by chemo or radiotherapy.