Increasing application of stem cells in the treatment of life threatening diseases boosting the demand for cord blood banking services

Posted On Feb, 12, 2016

Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that have ability to differentiate into a range of cell types. Stem cells with high proliferation capacity posses low risk of tumor formation and viral contamination. Thus, stem cells is rapidly becoming choice of treatment for the patients suffering from life threatening conditions such as cancer and blood, metabolic and immune system disorders.

Moreover, scientists and healthcare professionals are researching to develop a stem cell treatment for conditions including (but are not limited to) Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Pediatric Stroke, acquired hearing loss, diabetes, heart and vascular disease, skeletal diseases and injury. Considering potential increase in the use of stem cells in disease treatment, demand for cord blood is anticipated to grow exponentially in the near future. According to Grand View Market Research (http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/cord-blood-banking-services-market), a market research firm based in the U.S., the global cord blood banking services market is anticipated to reach over USD 11 billion in 2022 from USD 4.6 billion in 2014 with CAGR of 11.3% from 2015 to 2022.

Furthermore, rapidly growing awareness owing to marketing activities of private players and government initiatives to encourage storage of cord blood units is another major factor boosting the growth of the global market. However, chances of not finding suitable HLA match and unusualness of units stored in private banks are some of the factors challenging the growth of the market.

Cord blood is collected from umbilical cord just after the child is born. Presently, two types of cord blood banks: private and public are available. Rights of using the cord blood units (CBU) stored with private banks are reserved for the baby or close relative or siblings of the child whose CBU is being stored. Parents of the child have to bear the charges for collection and storage of the CBU stored in private banks. Collection charges for private banks ranges from USD 1,200 to USD 3,000 along with annual maintenance cost ranging from USD 100 to USD 150 across geographies. While storage of CBU in public banks is free of cost. However, CBUs stored with public banks are publically available for use irrespective of the donor. Public banks charge for CBUs that have matched the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) to the patient.

Moreover, availability of information related to pros and cons of private and public banks on internet is anticipated to support public storage of the units. However, high charges of private banks compared to public banks for collection and storage are expected to result in greater revenue generation for the segment. Chances of finding suitable HLA match are more with public banks since their inventory is large and relatively less usefulness of the unit stored in private bank in case of one’s own cord blood. In addition, some governments believe that storing cord blood units privately is unnecessary financial burden since most of the units stored in the private banks remain unused. As a result, storing CBU privately is unlawful in countries like France and Italy. Thus, no private banks are available in these countries.

Cord Blood Registry (U.S.), ViaCord (U.S.), Cryo Save (Europe), Cryo-Cell (U.S.), Lifeforce Cryobanks, Cord Vida, and Cord Blood America are some of the CB banks that are offering private storage of CBUs. On the other hand, NHS cord blood bank, The University of Colorado Cord Blood Bank, Bloodworks Northwest (formerly Puget Sound Blood Center), German Cord Blood Bank, and José Carreras Cord Blood Bank (Germany) are some of the banks store donated cord blood units.

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