After a discovery of stem cells, now stem cells are storing at large scale and for that stem cell banking is being done by many medical hospitals
What is Stem Cell Banking
Stem cell banking refers to the systematic collection of samples of stem cells from rich sources like umbilical cord blood and preserving them under cryogenic conditions, so that these could be used for stem cell therapy when it required.
Inside the body, the stem cells stimulate natural repair mechanisms which in turn inhibit undue responses like inflammations and provide enhanced blood flow for curing injured or disease affected areas. Stem cell therapy has proven applications of genetic and blood disorders.
Stem Cell Bank – What it is
A stem cell bank is a collection and storage facility, where samples rich in stem cells are analyzed and manipulated, to be retrieved for transplantation or research purpose when needed.
Stem Cell Banking Companies
Most of the stem cell banking companies are equipped with their own sophsticated laboratories, since processing, preservation, analysis and routine monitoring are essential aspects of a stem cell banking facility. Some of the leading companies in the domain of stem cell banking are: –
|S.No.||Name||Country||Year of establishment|
Types of Stem Cell Banking
On the basis of retrieval rights, stem cell banking may be of two types: –
- Private stem cell banking: The sample rich in stem cells is stored in private or family banks after donor registration. The isolated stem cells are sterilized and preserved, until some one from the donor’s family intends to retrieve stem cell for transplantation. The donor needs to bear the charges of collection and preservation.
- Public stem cell banking: The sample is collected from and preserved carefully. Retrieval is open to any person who needs stem cell therapy or alternatively for conducting any new research. The donor is not required to pay anything.
On the basis of source of stem cells, they can be categorized as: –
- Hematopoietic stem cell banking: Stem cells are present in all organs of the body, but primarily concentrated in bone marrow. Hence, bone marrow is one of the richest sources, from where stem cells may be extracted.
- Induced pluripotent stem (iPs) cell banking: This refers to collection and preservation of cells obtained from mature cells by programming such that these can renew themselves and differentiate into all types of cells in the body, except the extra embryonic tissues like placenta.
- Cord blood banking: Embryonic stem cells are found to have the ability to convert into other types of cells. Cord blood refers to the residual blood of umbilical cord, after a baby has been delivered. It can be relatively obtained easily from umbilical cord and is quite rich in stem cells. The practice of collecting umbilical cord blood samples from donors and then preserving them under cryogenic conditions, so that they could be used for stem cell therapy or research whenever required, is referred to as cord blood banking.
- Amniotic fluid banking: Stem cells can be derived from amniotic fluid, during amniocentesis (foetal sex determination) and retrieved later when required. This is known as an amniotic stem cell bank. Initially, the conceiving mother is regarded the owner and has the rights to donate stem cells for the cause of stem cell banking. The first stem private amniotic cell bank was established in Medford, Massachussetts. It was set up by Biocell Center in the year 2009 in the month of October.
Procedure of Stem Cell Banking
Stem cell banking comprises the following steps: –
- Sample collection and transportation: Samples of stem cells collected from umbilical cord or any other rich source are collected after donor registration. In case the stem cell bank is private, the donor agrees to pay the due amount yearly. No fee is charged for stem cell donations made to a public bank. The samples are carefully transported to the laboratories for analysis and preservation.
- Isolation and analysis: From samples, stem cells are isolated first. This is followed by chemical analysis where the cells are inspected to ensure their purity. Moreover chemical analysis results must assure that the isolated stem cells have the potential for treatment of conditions of illness.
- Processing and storage (Cryopreservation): The selected stem cells are preserved by keeping them at sub-zero temperatures in liquid Nitrogen. This technique known as cryogenic preservation enhances shelf life of stem cells by inhibiting any microbial activity and maintaining ideal sterile conditions.
- Retrieval for transplantation: Stem cells are retrieved from the public or private banks to be used for implantation in the body of patient. While public banks are open to all patients and research purposes, the private or family stem cell banks provide stem cells if requested by that particular family. It is mandatory that stem cells are retrieved for transplantation or research within their shelf life, else their potential characteristics will probably be lost.
Cost of Stem Cell Banking
Stem cell banking is very expensive procedure. Private banks in U.S. charge $1, 400 to $ 2300 for collecting, testing and registering blood. It also charges $95 to $125 annually for preserving blood.
The total cost levied upon the donor by a private stem cell banks consists of the following elements: –
- Initial enrollment fee: This part of fee is deposited initially prior to the birth of a baby. Generally, all private stem cell banks in India issue a fee of Rs. 5000.
- Service fee: It is the sum total of expenses incurred over administration and collection, transportation to storage site, processing, inspection, cryogenic preservation and storage.
- Additional fee: It is charged in case any extra testing is prescribed by regulatory agencies as in the event of unexpected lab test reports.
- Refund fee: If within a stipulated period of time, no retrieval application is received, then the donor has to pay extra cost to account for the maintenance overheads till that period.
Cost of Different Companies for Stem Cell Banking
The cost break-up of banking charges for different companies are detailed as under: –
Name of bank Collection and cost break up of total charge
|Name of Bank||Enrollment fee (Rs.)||Processing fee (Rs.)||Storage fee (Rs.)|
Cord tissue- 5000
|Name of Bank||Enrollment fee (in Rs.)||Collection and processing fee (in Rs.)|
|Cordlife||5000||21 years- 50000
25 years- 60000
Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Banking
Stem cell banking is an emerging science with probably more potential than has been explored or utilized so far. The ability of stem cells to transform into specialized cells makes them a significant alternative that can replace organ transplantation in the upcoming years.
It will therefore significant reduce plight of poor donors, who have no option than donating a valuable organ to save someone’s life. It will also bring a new ray of hope for patients suffering from critical diseases and for the cases where organ transplantation is mandatory at present. However stem cell banking has its own limitations as well.
- Stem cell banking helps in cryogenic preservation of stem cell samples, to be used for transplantation in the body of patients.
- Stem cells are undifferentiated and have the potency to convert into other kinds of blood cells.
- Hence, they can be used for the treatment of diseases relating to blood and immune system. Stem cell therapy has proved successful in treating thousands of child patients, afflicted with Leukemia.
- Stem cell banking helps in preserving newly found rich sources of stem cells and using them for conducting research to discover their latent benefits for the future.
- At present, stem cells can be used for standard treatments, treatment of blood related disorders, immune disorders eg. Myelokathexis and solid tumours eg. Neuroblastoma.
- At Duke university, research is being done using cord blood cells for curing diseases like cerebral palsy and Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
In future, stem cell therapy can be used for clinical trials for the treatment of diseases which include: –
- Autoimmune diseases eg. Type 1 Diabetes
- Neurologic disorders eg. Multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury
- Stem cell therapy may be used to protect from the effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
- Stem cell banking helps to preserve blood to be used when required.
- Storing a baby’s stem cells ensures that the child can utilize stored cells in case he develops any complicated disease.
- Stem cell therapy can replace organ transplant as it is less complicated, but more reliable.
- Stem cells are not able to cure all types of diseases.
- If the child has a genital defect at the prenatal stage itself, the stem cells will have the same defect as well. Stem cell therapy cannot be used in that case.
- Stored blood has a limited shelf life i.e. around 10 years, after which it is discarded for its desirable curing and healing properties are lost.
- Chances might be that stored stem cells are never used. A child whose stem cells were collected during or prior to birth, might not actually use it.
- The processes of acquisition and growth of stem cells are associated with their own inherent set of risks.
- For instance, these might be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
With ongoing developments in the fields of scientific and medical research, the potential applications of stem cells as regenerative medicines are increasing every day. Recently, it has been found that stem cells could in future provide treatment for some incurable diseases like type 1 diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.
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