What will Become of the Taxpayer Investment in Public Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking?

David T. Harris, Scott Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cord Blood (CB) is a unique and readily available source of hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation. CB also contains other types of stem cells, including endothelial stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells, that may prove useful in non-traditional clinical uses. Genetic and molecular analyses have demonstrated that CB stem cells lie somewhere between mature stem cells like those found in Bone Marrow (BM), and fetal stem cells. After 25 years of clinical experience, CB is now used in the same fashion as BM for all typical malignant and genetic diseases treated by bone marrow transplant. Due to the establishment of CB banks in the US and abroad, more than 35,000 CB transplants have been performed over the past 25 years. An average of 700-800 CB transplants are performed annually. In addition, CB is now used more frequently for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications. At first glance, it seems that everything could not be better with the public cord blood banks and the use of their samples in the clinic. However, a recent report by the Rand Corp. reviewed the US national cord blood stem cell banking program and detailed many ongoing problems. However, some details were omitted from the report that would shed some light on the causes of many of the problems. This paper will summarize the status of the public cord blood stem cell banking program in the US, detail the problems associated with the program that could jeopardize its existence and suggest possible solutions to resolve these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent stem cell research & therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cord blood
  • cord blood banks
  • regenerative medicine
  • stem cells
  • tissue engineering
  • transplantation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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