( dpa ) - Inspired by an orange juicer, two Singapore academics have invented a device that they claim can extract more stem cells from a placenta than current methods from the umbilical cord, a news report said Tuesday.
Professor Ng Soon Chye and Associate Professor Tan Kok Kiong at the National University of Singapore told the Straits Times that three companies from the city-state, Japan and Britain are interested in the invention.
During a coffee break, the duo considered an orange juicer.
"We then had an idea: squeeze as much as possible, like the juicer," Ng was quoted as saying.
Their brainstorming resulted in the placenta "juicer," which presses down and squeezes on the placenta to extract as much cord blood as possible.
Stem cells can be extracted from the umbilical cord after birth and used to treat patients with blood diseases or used in bone-marrow transplants.
Some parents have their newborns' cord blood stored. The umbilical cord would otherwise be discarded.
Current extraction methods use a syringe to suck up as much blood as possible from the umbilical cord.
Ng and Tan said their device can exact as much as 10 times the amount of cord blood, or 10 times the amount of stem cells.