Cord blood is the blood that is left post-delivery in the placenta and umbilical cord. Cord blood is collected from umbilical cord just after the child is born. It is a rich source of stem cells, which have the ability to differentiate into a range of cell types. Cord blood banking services involve the collection of cord blood and cryogenically freezing the stem cells, as well as other immune system cells, so that they can be preserved for medical uses in future. Cord blood banking is commonly referred to as ‘stem cell banking’ in Europe as well as some other parts of the world.
Cord blood is often referred to as regenerative medicine, as they help in regeneration of various stems and tissues. Stem cells with high proliferation capacity possess low risk of tumor formation and viral contamination. With stem cells rapidly becoming the choice of treatment for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions such as cancer and blood, metabolic and immune system disorders, cord blood banking services have gained much prominence in the healthcare sector.
A news recently came from Illinois about a 45-year-old woman named Holly Becker, whose life was saved from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma by the cord blood donation of the now 25-year old Patrick Davey, whose umbilical cord blood was used to cure her. This is just one of the many examples highlighting the importance of cord blood banking services, with scientists and healthcare professionals currently researching to develop a stem cell treatment for conditions including (but not limited to) Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Pediatric Stroke, acquired hearing loss, diabetes, heart and vascular disease, skeletal diseases and injury.
The drivers for the cord blood banking services market are as follows:
Considering potential increase in the use of stem cells in disease treatment, demand for is anticipated to grow exponentially in the near future.
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 cord blood banking services market.
Cord blood therapies have seen increasing success over the years, with clinicians becoming more aware about dosing cord blood, as well as picking more suitable matches, and providing better supportive care to the patient, factors which have helped the market become increasingly attractive.
The option to store one’s own cord blood at a private bank for a fee is a favorable one for many users, something which again helps in the growth of the cord blood banking services market.
Certain factors may also hold back the cord blood banking services market. These include:
The high cost associated with storing the blood at a private bank, plus an annual storing fee, can be a big factor in holding back potential donors.
If the child does not have a family history of diseases, then he/she may not ever need cord blood, again undermining their importance.
Moreover, stringent regulatory requirements, as well as ethical issues involved provide a major hindrance to growth of cord blood banking services market.
Chances of not finding suitable HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) match and unusualness of units stored in private banks are some other factors challenging the growth of the cord blood banking services market.
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. While storage of CBU in public banks is free of cost, they are available for use to anybody irrespective of the donor. Public banks charge for CBUs that have matched the HLA to the patient.
Chances of finding suitable HLA match are more with public banks since their inventory is large. 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 restricting cord blood banking services in these regions. England has seen a huge growth in the number of people availing cord blood banking services, with the number of blood and tissue units banked privately increasing from 16,965 in 2014 to 27,028 in 2018.
Some of the major players operating in the cord blood banking services market include:
China Cord Blood Corporation
Cord Blood America, Inc.
CBR Systems, Inc.
Cordlife Group Limited
Cryo-Cell International, Inc.
National Cord Blood Program
ViaCord, Inc., and
Precision Cellular Storage (formerly Virgin Health Bank)
Major developments have taken place in the cord blood banking services market, some of which are:
In August 2019, Cordlife Group, a leading provider of cord blood banking services headquartered in Singapore, announced that it had expanded its operations to Bangladesh, appointing Cordcell Bangladesh Ltd. as its marketing agent in the region. With Bangladesh being one of the five fastest growing world economies, the development would allow Cordlife to grab a healthy share in the country’s growing quality healthcare demand. The organization will first focus on Chittagong and Dhaka, where almost 80% of the country’s Middle and Affluent Class (MAC) population is concentrated, before reaching other locations.
In July 2019, a new company called as ‘Cellsure’ came up in Utah. The company is different in that its blood banks do not collect and store blood separately from the umbilical cord. Instead they offer storage of stem cells found in cord blood as well as placental tissue. Apart from this, they have come up with a family storage plan, which has a fee substantially lower than the initial fee of other family cord blood banks.
In September 2019, CBR (Cord Blood Registry), based in California, announced its asset acquisition of Natera’s Evercord™ unit, which focusses on newborn stem cell services. The deal will allow Natera to focus on its core genetic testing business, while also helping them take advantage of CBR’S advances in regenerative medicine and cellular therapies.
In-depth report on global cord blood banking services market by Grand View Research:
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