Cord blood is the blood present in the umbilical cord and placenta after the delivery of a newborn. Before the birth of the baby, stem cells and immune cells are transferred from the mother to the fetus in order to boost the immune systems of the mother and baby in preparation for labor. Thus, at the time of delivery, the blood in the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells and other cells of the immune system.
Cord Blood and Tissue Banking
Prior to 1990s, the umbilical cord and its blood were discarded as medical waste. That vastly changed over the years, with parents today having the option to process and store their baby’s umbilical cord blood, because the stem cells it contains can be used in the treatment of numerous life-threatening diseases.
The potency of processed cord blood is measured using a total nucleated cell count (TNC). TNCs are stem cells and other cells of the immune system that protect the body. The stem cells present in cord blood are hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Hematopoietic stem cells tend to develop into two broad categories of cells: myeloid and lymphoid cells.
Myeloid cells can differentiate into red blood cells, platelets, and other cells of the blood. Lymphoid cells can differentiate into the B cells and T cells, which form the basis for the immune system.
Therapeutic Potential of Cord Blood and Tissue
Another type of stem cell present in cord blood is the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), but they are much more abundant in umbilical cord tissue. Treg cells are also present in umbilical cord blood. These are important cells because they have the potential to prevent GvHD in stem cell transplantation and ameliorate autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Cord blood contains natural killer cells (NK cells), which are now being programmed within clinical trials to target specific cancer cells. Cord blood is being explored as a readily available source of stem cells to differentiate into other cell types, such as iPS cells and CAR-T cells, for example.
Furthermore, the human placenta contains a powerful population of therapeutic cell types for use in the development of cell therapies and biomaterials. For example, Celularity is exploring the potential of its placental pluripotent stem cells―which have both immunomodulatory and pro-regenerative behaviors―across a variety of indications.
In collaboration with United Therapeutics, it is developing a placental-derived product (PDA-001) that is being tested in patients who are experiencing the advanced complications of COVID-19, such as ARDS. In theory, this approach could help control and manage the cytokine and pro-inflammatory effects of the illness, while supporting a recovery after the virus is cleared.
Put simply, cord blood and tissue contain a powerful array of therapeutic cell types for use in medicine and the growing use of perinatal tissues within regenerative medicine (RM) applications is stunning.
Cord Blood and Tissue Therapeutics
For these reasons and more, the cord blood industry is witnessing record levels of M&A activity, with market leaders gaining market share at the expense of smaller competitors and large investment groups vying for buy-in opportunities.
Novel pricing strategies, product cross-sells and upsells, and ingenious online and offline marketing strategies are being implemented by the industry’s market leaders. Meanwhile, new technologies to support ex vivo cord blood expansion are advancing at brisk pace.
If you are competing within the global cord blood banking market, then you know that the demand for the storage and utilization of cord blood is evolving in fascinating new directions. The earliest market competitors to capitalize on these trends within their marketing strategies, product development plans, and strategic alliances will have a distinct competitive advantage.
Given the accelerating complexity and competitive nature of this global market, you don’t have the time to do the research. Claim the report below to become immediately informed, without sacrificing hours of unnecessary research.
Click here to view Executive Summary and Table of Contents for the “Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report 2021.”