The launch of Sir Richard Branson’s stem cell bank ‘might prove to be his most controversial business to date’ (The Times, 1 Feb). Others described the venture as ‘revolutionary’ (The Scotsman, 2 Feb) and ‘radical’ (The Daily Telegraph, 2 Feb).
There was a cautious welcome from scientists and doctors. While applauding Branson’s contribution to public stem cell banks, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said ‘the health of the mother had to remain a priority’ and that appropriate maternity staffing levels must be ensured (Care & Health, 2 Feb).
The Royal College of Midwives and the National Childbirth Trust was less enamoured with Branson’s bank, the former stating it had ‘grave concerns about midwives being distracted during the critical final moments of a birth by having to collect cord blood’ (icscotland.co.uk, 1 Feb).
Branson said ‘there are simply not enough stem cells being collected in the UK’ (Reuters, 1 Feb). He added that the bank would be an ‘extremely useful’ resource (Press Association, 1 Feb), increasing the likelihood of finding matches for patients, and helping researchers to realise ‘the potential of stem cells’ (The Guardian, 1 Feb).
Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.