South Korean medical company Histostem Co Ltd said it plans to open the world’s first hospital exclusively providing treatment using stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood.

The firm said it is close to a final agreement with an unnamed European investment company to set up the hospital in the southern resort island of Jeju in the first half of 2007.

Under the accord, Histostem and the European investor will jointly put in 80 mln usd to set up a hospital with some 100 beds, company officials told Agence France-Presse.

‘This would be the world’s first hospital exclusively for umbilical cord blood stem-cell therapy,’ said Han Hoon, the doctor who heads Histostem, a medical venture company.

Han and his researchers have carried out more than 250 umbilical cord blood stem cell treatments since July 2003, including cases of spinal cord injuries, liver cirrhosis, Buerger’s disease, diabetes, chronic renal failure and a dozen other diseases.

Results were varied, depending on the kind of diseases and the degree of severity in each case. But in most cases treatments improved or cured the patient, Han said.

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