STEM CELL BANKING -CORD BLOOD BANKING
Public use bank
Public cord blood banks collect, process and store cord blood units for allogeneic use. These banks are financed by the national health systems and store cord blood units altruistically donated by parents for the use of any patient in need. However, their cord blood unit may also be used by including their own child if he/ she later needs a cord blood transplant and the unit is still available.
The parents sign an informed consent form giving the bank permission to list their child’s blood on a national registry that can be searched to find a match for a transplant patient. The cord blood is listed purely by its tissue type, with no infor mation about the identity of the donor. Success in finding compatible donors depends on the size and diversity of the available cord blood stocks. This is why all the national registries worldwide are connected and share their stocks. This helps to find the most suitable and com patible donor for any recipient in need.
Public use banks are subjected to national regulations and have to be accredited (FACT-Netcord or AACBB accredita tion), following strict protocols to obtain high-quality cord blood units with a high number of cells.
Family use banks
Family use cord blood banks collect, process and store cord blood units for autologous or family use, which means that the cord blood units will be stored for the exclusive use of the child, or someone in his/her family, should they develop a disease requiring haematopoietic stem cell treatment in the future.
Most of these banks are private banks and they function on a for-profit basis. In these banks, the family pays a fee to store the cord blood of their baby and these units are not available for public use through national or international registries. Contrary to public use banks, family use banks are not subject to regulations and international accreditation,
so they apply less stringent quality criteria for the storage of cord blood units. Since they charge the families for each unit stored, they try to store as many as possible, even if the likelihood of them being used in the future is extremely low. When considering hiring the services of these family use banks, parents should also carefully study what will happen to the cord blood units if the bank goes out of business in the future. They should also be aware that, in most family use banks, cord blood units will be discarded if storage payments from the parents cease.