What You Need to Know About Stem Cell Banks and Its Benefits?

Research in regenerative medicine has led to around 80 advanced therapies to treat and cure many serious health conditions, and, as the research continues, there will be many more medical breakthroughs in the future to treat currently incurable ailments. Stem cell banks play an important role in this research as they store cryogenically frozen cord blood stem cells for future use and allow researchers and medical personnel to access them as needed.

Stem cell banks

Stem cell banks store hematopoietic stem cells for future use. These stem cells are obtained from the umbilical cord blood and tissue of a newborn baby. They are similar to what you would get from the bone marrow, but they are younger and have more effective regeneration properties. They can transform into more specialized cells such as blood cells, bone cells, brain cells, muscle cells, and so on, which makes them ideal for repairing damaged organs and tissues.

Additionally, the process of obtaining them is non-invasive and painless, unlike that of getting bone marrow stem cells from a donor.

Types of stem cell banks

There are public and private stem cell banks, and the FDA regulates both types of banks in the United States. To maintain their licensure, stem cell banks must ensure that they have regulatory and quality systems. Both types of stem cell banks follow specific procedures for collecting, screening, preserving, and storing cord blood and cord tissue stem cells.

The two main differences between them are in the pricing of the storage services and the access to the stored stem cells.

When you give your newborn baby’s stem cells to a public stem cell bank, it will consider it to be a donation. The public bank will not charge you for any of their services, but, on the other hand, it will also make the donation freely available to researchers and compatible patients that need it for medical treatments. That means, if you or your family ever need the stem cells in the future for your own treatment, it is very likely that you will not be able to get those very same ones.

Private stem cell banks will charge you an annual fee for storing the stem cells. It can turn out to be expensive in the long term, but you can always obtain the stem cells when you need them. The private stem bank will not give them to anyone else.

Benefits of stem cell banks

Let us look at some of the benefits of stem cell banks

They offer biological insurance for the future

If your family has a history of hereditary health conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so on, you or your child may be at high risk of developing the condition at some point in the future. By banking young and healthy stem cells while it is still possible, you and your family may be able to access them when you need them for use in currently available regenerative medicine therapies. If there is no currently available treatment for your condition, there is a strong possibility that the on-going research could produce some solutions in the future that you could benefit from.

They can help save lives

Many parents chose to donate the cord blood and tissue from their newborn’s umbilical cord to public stem cell banks. These public banks make the donated biological materials freely available to anyone that needs it. So, doctors can match it with compatible patients and use it for medical treatments. There will be no long waits or hassles in finding the right match. Researchers can obtain it for use in clinical trials to find cures for various health conditions. Without stem cell banks, it wouldn’t have been possible to give hope to so many patients with debilitating health issues.

They can facilitate clinical research

The ready availability of stem cells from stem cell banks have facilitated clinical research in regenerative medicine. Researchers have already been successful in finding treatments for many types of cancers, immune disorders, blood disorders, and metabolic diseases. It is very likely that they will be able to discover new approaches involving cellular repair and regeneration of organs and tissues to treat many other health conditions.