Sustainability for Vita 34 means responsible action in the interest of future generations. The definitive responsibility lies in creating a permanent balance between economic, ecological and social requirements in everyday company operations. This is the way to lay the foundation for a long-term, continuous company development. As we understand it, sustainability and profitable growth go hand in hand.
The storage of umbilical cord blood, as provision for oneself or a donation, is a future-oriented investment – a healthcare provision. As the largest private stem cell bank in the German-speaking countries, Vita 34 makes a valuable contribution with the preventative storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue towards supporting patients in need with their body’s own regeneration, and increasing their quality of life.
Economic activities are sustainable when they do not impair ecological compatibility and social justice. The focus here is the responsible and forward-looking action of the Company. As a European pioneer in autologous umbilical cord blood banking, we work daily towards making our services better known and more accessible, as well as towards establishing treatment with stem cells from umbilical cord blood and tissue as a medical standard. Despite initial success in use and in research, some 95 percent of all umbilical cord blood is discarded after birth. Thus, the option for a sustainable use of stem cells from umbilical cord blood and tissue goes mainly unused.
From the very beginning, Vita 34 has endeavored to further develop the national and European legal framework conditions, in order to ensure the greatest possible safety and quality in the storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue. The fulfillment of the legal provisions and guidelines, therefore, is a high priority in the corporate actions at Vita 34. The German Pharmaceuticals Act (Arzneimittelgesetz, AMG) is the overriding regulation in Germany governing the manufacturing requirements for allogenic and autologous stem cell preparations, the necessary staffing, and the establishment of quality management. These requirements are made tangible via:
- The German Transplantation Act (TPG) and the Transfusion Act (TFG),
- The German Pharmaceutical and Agent Production Directive (AMWHV)
- The guidelines on the production and application of hematopoietic stem cells
- The Hemotherapy Guideline on the Collection of Blood and Blood Components, as well as the Application of Blood Products of the German Medical Association and the Paul-Ehrlich Institute (PEI).
- Good Manufacturing Practice Guidelines (GMP)
Vita 34 has implemented the legal requirements in corresponding working instructions (SOP – Standard Operating Procedure). SOPs define all manufacturing steps from anamnesis to collection, manufacturing to use. In important areas they even exceed the legal requirements. All employees are obligated and correspondingly trained to observe these strict process guidelines.
Vita 34 is a member of Cord Blood Europe, the association of private European umbilical cord blood banks. This association provides a platform for the exchange of best practices in stem cell storage, and strives for harmonization of the legal framework in Europe www.cordbloodeurope.org
Safeguarding Stem Cell Storage
The storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue is a healthcare provision that is oriented many years into the future. Therefore, Vita 34 has comprehensively secured stem cell storage. Blood and tissue are stored each in an especially rupture-proof cryo-bag especially developed by Vita 34. Each bag is located in a cassette that ensures even, reliable freezing and storage in the power-independent cryo-tanks. Vita 34 is well prepared for all conceivable cases of disturbance with automatic monitoring round the clock, and a functional reserve of seven days, independent of any external power source. All of the stem cell deposits stored at Vita 34 are additionally insured by Generali Versicherung AG, and HDI-Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG. The insurances would provide financial resources in the case of possible insolvency, such that the stem cell unit will be stored properly and monitored for 50 years.
A special feature of the liability insurance at Vita 34 is, that apart from the activities of the employees of Vita 34, also the collection of the umbilical cord blood and tissue by the personnel in the birthing facilities is covered.
Vita 34 has established responsible actions permanently as part of corporate activity. A significant aspect for Vita 34 here is the use of energy-efficient technologies and the assurance of the stringent environmental requirements in the use of hazardous materials.
Vita 34 monitors and evaluates the use and disposal of hazardous materials and chemicals at regular intervals. Generally, only small quantities of hazardous materials and chemicals are used in the production process. For some twelve years Vita 34 has been using a DMSO solution (dimethyl sulfoxide), in small package sizes, corresponding with the daily requirements. This causes less residual amounts of DMSO that need to be disposed of as hazardous waste.
The cryo-tanks used by Vita 34 for cryo-preservation of the stem cell units are independent of electricity, thus ensuring a high level of security thanks to their specific design. The nitrogen used for cryo-preservation is used optimally, since the stem cells units are stored in the gas phase above liquid nitrogen. Moreover, this technology minimizes the potential risk of cross contamination between the preparations.
The business segment “Biotechnology” provides services for environmental projects. The causes of environmental pollution are manifold and mostly global. The following services were developed and used internationally by Vita 34:
- Solutions for water management
- Technologies for treating water, as well as
- Strategies for rehabilitation, cultivation, and/ or subsequent use of devastated or degraded areas.
They contribute to solving environmental problems sustainably. Technological developments from Vita 34 were not least awarded with various innovation prizes thanks to their sustainability.
Vita 34 produces part of the electricity it requires in the BioCube with its own photovoltaic system. The goal is to produce 18,000 kWh annually by using solar energy, thus preventing some 11 tons of CO2 emissions.
Responsibility towards society describes our understanding of social activities. The emphasis of this area is both supporting social projects, as well as informing the population with regard to our services in detail, as well.
With heart and mind we are working on preserving high-quality stem cell preparations from cord blood and tissue, which offer an opportunity for new medical therapies. Today, children are already benefitting from treatment with stem cells. This is our incentive to continue to improve and to research additional treatment options with stem cells from umbilical cord blood and tissue.
We see it as our duty to inform people in detail about our services. Vita 34 offers tours in the “Glass Laboratory” within the scope of regular parent events. Moreover, tours and presentations are organized for physicians and midwives. Vita 34 provides information on current developments and background information concerning stem cells on the Company’s blog, as well as on the social media network Facebook.