Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Could Cord Blood Banking be the Next Big Trend in the BioBanking Market?

What is a Diversified Biobank versus a Stem Cell Biobank? 

A biobank is a type of biological repository that stores biological samples (usually human) for use in research and medicine. The registration of each sample entering and exiting the system is centrally stored on a computer system that is frequently backed up, and the physical location of each sample is noted to allow efficient location of specimens. Storage of the specimens may range from controlled ambient (room temperature), to +4°C, -20°C, -80°C, and -196°C (liquid or vapor nitrogen, LN2).

Currently, there are three purposes for which stem cells would be stored:

•   Biobanking (both public and private)
•   The storage of stem cells for use in medical applications, including cellular therapy, regenerative    medicine, tissue engineering, and personalized therapeutics
•   The storage of stem cells for use in scientific research.

A stem cell biobank is a dedicated stem cell storage company or organization. What distinguishes it from the rest of the cryogenic storage marketplace is that it is focused exclusively on the storage of stem cell samples. In contrast, diversified biobanks or biorepositories may collect a wide range of biological samples, including blood components, whole blood, buccal swabs, DNA, RNA, protein, cell lines, marrow, plasma, serum, RBC, white cells, fluid, urine, solid tissues, tumor and biopsy materials, and more.

Therefore, the stem cell storage market is a sub-segment of the broader cryogenic storage market that is composed of diversified biobanks and biorepositories.

Could Cord Blood Banking be the Next Big Trend in the BioBanking Market?

While there are many different market segments within the stem cell biobanking market, cord blood banking has recently been on the rise. Over a trailing three year-period, this area of the stem cell biobanking market has been growing faster than other key marking segments, including the storage of bone marrow stem cells, peripheral blood stem cells, adipose-derived stem cells, dental pulp stem cells, and more.

A cord blood bank is a facility which stores umbilical cord blood for potential future medical use. Stem cell samples stored in private (“family”) banks are available only to the individual or family who has chosen to collect the stem cells. The companies that offer this service are for-profit companies, and the fees for the collection, processing, and ongoing storage of the stem cells are paid by the individual or family for whom the unit is stored.

Public storage of umbilical cord blood involves donation of the cord blood unit to a public bank at the time of birth and subsequent storage of it for use by any member of the public who has medical need and is a genetic match.

The field of cord blood banking is a relatively recent field, as it was not until 1988 that the first successful cord blood transplant occurred and not until 1995 that the first private cord blood bank, the Cord Blood Registry, began operations. There are now nearly 500 cord blood banks worldwide across most countries worldwide. In addition, there has been rapid progress made with the success of cord blood transplantation. Since the first transplant was performed in 1988, the number of transplants performed worldwide has since risen to 35,000.  

Another interesting trend in the cord blood banking industry has been the recent introduction of the option for expectant parents to store cord tissue. The reason to store both umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue is that they contain different types of stem cells (hematopoietic versus mesenchymal stem cells) and each type has the potential to treat different types of injury and disease.

When a cord blood unit is collected, the blood contained within the umbilical cord of a newborn baby is extracted from the cord, collected in a cord blood kit, transported to a cord blood bank, and cryogenically stored. Similarly, in cord tissue banking, 4-8cm of the umbilical cord is collected, placed in the tissue collection kit, and transported to a cord blood bank (or laboratory) for storage. While the collection process and reasons for storage are very similar, cord tissue banking only emerged as a commercial option in the U.S. beginning in July 2010, while cord blood banking has been commercially available in the U.S. since 1995.

When cord blood banking first emerged as a service in the early 1990’s, cord blood storage was the only service that was offered by companies operating within the industry. However, by 2008 a Taiwanese company (HealthBanks Biotech Company Ltd.) had expanded it stem cell storage services to also include cord tissue storage, because cord tissue contains stem cells that differ from cord blood. By 2010, the Cord Blood Registry made the same decision in the United States and offered it as a complement service for their cord blood banking service. Since then, cord tissue storage has had a significant impact on the U.S. cord blood banking industry, as nearly half of private U.S. cord blood banks now offer the service.

The key differences between umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue are described below.


Since cord tissue banking was introduced, the market for biobanking of various stem cell samples has continued to expand, with placental banking being offered by LifeBank USA and Americord. Recently thereafter, Cryo-Cell International began offering storage of stem cells from menstrual blood.
Cade Hildreth, CEO, BioInformant

To learn more about trends within the biobanking market and opportunities for optimizing your sample management practices, view program details for the “Biorepositories and Sample Management Summit” in Boston, MA, on October 12-14, 2015.  Use the code "XP2098BioInform" to get 15% off your Event Pass.

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