KIPCO – the Kuwait Projects Company – and its Group companies have made a KD 7 million donation to the Ministry of Health to build the Sheikha Salwa Sabah Al Ahmad Stem Cell and Umbilical Cord Center. This is the Gulf region’s first-ever center to be dedicated to stem cell research and the storage of umbilical cords. 

The facility, to be built over a 12,000 m. sq. plot of land in the Sabah Health Zone, will include testing and research laboratories, blood and cord storage banks, research and medical libraries, as well as a lecture theater.

KIPCO hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction. The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health and as senior executives of the KIPCO Group.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr 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, 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.”

On her part, Dr Reem Al Radwan, Director of the Department of Blood Transfusion Services at the Ministry of Health said:

“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 added:

“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. 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. This center will 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.”

Mr Al Ayyar, together with Dr Al Radwan and Mr Abdulaziz Al Jassar, Board Member and Treasurer of Masharee Al Khair, laid the foundation of the building. This was followed by a viewing of the construction site.

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.