Cord tissue banking is the process of storing a small piece of the umbilical cord, so the stem cells contained in it might if therapies are made available in the future be isolated and used for regenerative medicine therapies, for the baby or a close relative.
The tissue to be stored is cut from the umbilical cord after the baby is born. There is therefore no danger or discomfort to the baby or mother from the process of collection.
The cord tissue is transported to Cell Care’s laboratory by medical courier, where it is prepared for storage prior to cryopreservation at temperatures close to -196 C.
If the cord tissue were ever needed and able to be used for therapy, it would be thawed in the laboratory in a way that ensures the safety of the cells, and then cultured or expanded to the extent necessary for the treatment. It would then be transported to the hospital for treatment. Given that there are currently no approved therapies in Australia using these cell populations and laboratory methods for expanding cells are still in the research phase, Cell Care is utilising methods which it believes will provide the most flexibility for potential future use, but the appropriateness of current processes in relation to future uses cannot be guaranteed.
While Cell Care has established its collection and storage processes in association with Monash University and following the principles of the Australian code of Good Manufacturing Practice, the ultimate release of any cord tissue cells for treatment (should a treatment become available) may be subject to regulatory approval at the time. Accordingly, there is no guarantee that cord tissue collected and stored today will be able to be used for the purpose of such therapies.