Placenta cord banking
refers to the collection and storage of stem cells
from the placenta
, in addition to those found in cord blood
, after the birth
of a human baby. Placental stem cells are those stem cells that are found only in the placenta and are collected after the blood from the umbilical cord is drawn. They are non-embryonic stem cells
, as are those obtained from umbilical cord blood.
Both the placenta and umbilical cord are also rich sources of stem cells. Banking stem cells from the placenta in addition to those found in cord blood significantly increases the number of prenatal stem cells that are collected and preserved.
The placenta is a rich source of CD34+
stem cells. By banking both placental and cord blood stem cells, the total number of CD34+ stem cells is doubled, on average. CD34+ cell dose is a factor that is consistently identified as significantly associated with rate of stem cell engraftment, treatment-related mortality, and survival.
Collection, storage and costs
While cord blood is collected by a health care provider at the hospital, the placenta must be sent back to the laboratory for processing before the stem cells can be recovered. As such, placental stem cell collection and processing is more intensive than cord blood stem cell processing.
Both placental and cord blood stem cell units are processed and depleted of red blood cells and then cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen tanks at -196 degrees Celsius. Placental and cord blood stem cells units are stored in two separate cryopreservation bags, yielding two separate stem cell units.
Placenta cord banking costs $3,175 to collect and process the two stem cell units (both the placenta and cord blood) and then $225 per year for annual storage fees.
Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat over 80 diseases to date, including leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia. Over 8,000 cord blood stem cell transplants have been performed to date. Placental stem cells may be used in conjunction with cord blood stem cells to improve engraftment potential via an increased number of stem cells and CD34+ stem cells.