On Thursday Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson geared up to launch his stem-cells and biotech business. The new venture allows parents the ability to store the cells from their child’s umbilical cord.

Scientists believe the cells are useful to treat conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

According to BBC reports, many parents of new born children have already used stem-cell storage. The parents are provided with collection kits at the time of birth of their child. The kits are then taken for processing and storage to companies who deal in the business.

Stem-cell storage saves human blood from the placenta or umbilical cord after birth. This blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells, which are capable of adapting in the body and replacing damaged or diseased cells.

The controversial procedure is gaining popularity in the United States with many private firms intervening into the business. Many celebrities have also opted for cord blood registration.

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