Types of Cord Blood Banks
The operating criteria of public and private banks are common regarding
the organization, management, personnel, infrastructure and equipment used in the preparation, processing and storage of tissues and cells, and laboratory testing.
Also, when comparing the most significant operation points , one finds that both private and public banks are obliged to have a Hematologist, with a minimum of 5 years of experience in transplants, as Medical Director.
The minimum volume of each unit of umbilical cord blood before processing is common in private and public banks.
Finally, cord blood processing in both types of banks must be limited in reducing the volume of the original sample by removing plasma and red blood cells.
In public cord blood banks, parents donate hematopoietic cells from their child's umbilical cord blood free of charge. In this case, there is no claim or right over the sample from the donor after the donation. These cells, if they meet certain quantitative and qualitative criteria, can be transplanted into a histocompatible fellow human (heterologous transplantation).
Donation is therefore a noteworthy an altruistic act. In case a patient needs a transplant- even someone who has donated cord blood stem cells in a public bank - he or she will have to wait to find a compatible donor from a global pool. Also, the storage service of mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord tissue offered by some public banks has a fee.
In private stem cell banks, parents store their child's blood (hematopoietic cells) and umbilical cord tissue (mesenchymal cells) for possible use by the child (autologous transplant) or by a family member. The sample belongs to the parents (until the child reaches adulthood). Also, the sample itself is fully histocompatible with the child. These two services are offered either separately or in combination, increasing the chances of a successful transplant if one is needed.
(Fig. 1. Differences – Similarities of Cord Blood Banks, published with permission from Dr Francis Verter, PhD)