Collection of umbilical cord blood stem-cells

The methods of haematopoietic stem-cell storage have gone through a significant development over the past decades. According to the present scientific standpoint, the stem-cells can be stored in liquid nitrogen on -196°C, practically with no time restrictions. The long term storage of the umbilical cord blood stem-cells offers a special option for a new type of safekeeping values.
 
There are three types of stem-cell banks/ methods of stem-cell collection in the world. These are the public stem-cell banking, the direct medical application and the umbilical cord blood stem-cell collection for future individual use.
 
The voluntary donated, medically screened umbilical cord blood stem-cell units are stored in so called public stem-banks in a deepfreezed way called cryopreservation, and selected according to the type of the tissue. The umbilical cord blood stem-cells effectively stored in public stem-cell banks have many advantages over the voluntary bone marrow donation. We can say that the frozen stored stem-cells are ready for application immediately and safely, which we cannot tell about the voluntary donors who may be occupied, have a different health state or can even change their mind. According to the international experiences the stem-cells of the voluntary donors are available in 3-6 months on the average meanwhile stem-cells necessary for the transplantation might be available through umbilical cord blood banks only in 1-2 weeks. The representation of the minority ethnic groups of specific phenotype in the international donor registers is not adequately ensured. Public umbilical cord blood stem-cell banks would be a special help for the patients of such ethnic groups in finding the proper donors. For such ethnic groups umbilical cord blood derived stem-cells can even be collected specifically by public stem-cell banks.
 
The umbilical cord blood is taken for direct medical application in case there is, or expectedly there can appear such disease within the family, that is curable by stem-cell transplantation. Today, at the birth of a healthy child, the umbilical cord blood collection can be medically indicated for direct medical application or for direct donation in case of certain bad prognosis diseases may occur within the family or regarding a certain medical history of the family. In case the donor is an allogen relative donor (especially if it is a brother/ sister), the probability of the HLA matching necessary for the transplantation is around 25%.
 
Private stem-cell banks provide a service for those who, thinking on self-care, wish to get the stem-cells of their child stored for own use. In case of immunological matching, the umbilical cord blood stem-cells stored in private stem-cell banks might also be suitable for the therapy of the child’s relatives (e.g. brother/ sister). This kind of possibility for the therapeutical use of the stem-cells is why the international scientific literature often refers to the private stem-cell banks as family or relative banks.
 
There are nearly 130 active umbilical stem-cell banks all over the world and for about 1,3 million units of umbilical cord blood are freezed (9 million units in family and 4 million units in public stem-cell banks). In case the umbilical cord blood becomes stored in compliance with the professional protocols, in other words it is suitable for medical application due to technical and quality guarantee requirements, than each and every unit of umbilical cord blood represents a real value for both the individuals and the society. 
 
In Hungary, until today only private umbilical cord blood stem-cell banks have been established. Public stem-cells banks have not yet been founded. The establishment of a public stem-cell bank or starting a program of umbilical cord blood collection for public donation and the establishment of an umbilical cord blood stem-cell register of allogen donors could shorten the time of donor searching for patients registered on waiting-lists and it could fasten up the procedure of the transplantation.