Cord blood stem cell banking was a foreign concept to the Indian population until a few years ago. However, due to the increased use of stem cells in regenerative treatments, more & more are opting to preserve their baby’s stem cells.
Types of Stem Cell Banks in India
In India, the stem cell banking services are mainly provided by:
Government-owned (public) banks
Community stem cell bank
Private Stem Cell Bank
Private stem cell bank is also known as 'family bank,' where parents preserve their baby's cord blood to ensure its availability for any future use. This practice is considered a form of "biological insurance," where stem cells are used either by the child or a family member such as a sibling. As part of the consensus statement (2018) on Umbilical Cord Blood Banking, the Indian Academy of Paediatrics discourages parents from storing their umbilical cord stem cells with private banks, unless a family member or a baby is suffering from a genetic condition only treatable by autologous or family stem cells.
Government-Owned (Public) Stem Cell Bank
Public cord blood banks work on the concept of donation, wherein the public donates their child's cord blood. Anyone in need can use cord blood samples stored in these banks. Public banks also use donated sample for stem cell research.
However, parents are required to meet some eligibility criteria to donate their child's cord blood in public banks. The sample database of public banks is also made available to doctors and can be used if needed. Currently, public stem cell banks available in India have only a limited number of stem cell units ready for therapeutic usage. The available stem cell units for transplant are extremely low compared to the treatment demands. The first public bank in India, Jeevan (also known as BeTheCure.in) had shut down in 2017 due to funding issues.
Community Stem Cell Bank
In this model, umbilical cord stem cells are added to a community pool. In the event of a medical need, members of the community bank can access to all the units stored in the community pool. Therefore, this model combines the best of both the private as well as public banking. What makes this model unique is that fact that the community model combines the best of both the aforementioned stem cell banking models. LifeCell International pioneered the community stem cell banking model in India. It is the largest stem cell bank in India and the 3rd largest in the world.
List of Stem Cell Banking Companies in India
According to press information shared by Drug Controller General of India, there are 14 operational private stem cell banks in India and two public stem cell banks.
LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd. Established in 2004, LifeCell International is India premier community stem cell bank. With high-tech labs located at Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Gurugram (Haryana), LifeCell is trusted by over 3,50,000 parents and has a dual storage facility.
Reliance Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. Reliance Life Sciences began cord blood banking in 2002. It was the first repository was set up in India and South Asia. Reliance Life Sciences offers banking services for cord blood, umbilical cord, and cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
Ree Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. Founded in 2010, Ree Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. (ReeLabs), is a family (private) cord blood bank. ReeLabs works for the collection and preservation of stem cells from numerous sources, namely, Umbilical Cord Blood, Cord, Placenta, Amniotic Sac, Amniotic Fluid, Bone Marrow, Adipose Tissue, and Menstrual Blood.
Regenerative Medical Services Pvt. Ltd. Formed in 2009, Regenerative Medical Services Pvt. Ltd., also known as BioCell, is a private stem cell bank in India. Regenerative Medical Services Pvt. Ltd. provides umbilical cord stem cell banking services in Maharashtra and several other parts of India.
CryoViva Biotech India Pvt. Ltd. Established in 2006, CryoViva Biotech India Pvt. Ltd. is a privately held stem cell bank in India. Headquartered from Gurugram, India, CryoViva works towards the preservation of umbilical cord blood stem cells for family use.
Cryobanks International India Pvt. Ltd. Established in 1993, Cryobanks International is a privately held stem cell bank in India. Headquartered from Gurugram, India, Cryobanks works towards the preservation of umbilical cord blood stem cells.
Unistem BioSciences Pvt. Ltd. Operational since 2014, Unistem BioSciences Pvt. Ltd. is a stem cell bank operational from Gurugram, Haryana, India. The organization works towards the preservation of cord blood cells and stem cell research.
Totipotentrx Cell Therapy Pvt. Ltd. Established in 2011, Totipotentrx Cell Therapy Private Limited is a privately incorporated stem cell bank in India.
Cord Life Sciences India Pvt. Ltd. Cordlife is Asia’s largest network of private umbilical cord blood banks. It is listed on the Mainboard of Singapore Stock Exchange and is fully-operational in 8 countries. Cordlife India operates in over 200 cities and is one of the most prominent stem cell banks in India.
Narayana Hrudayalaya Tissue Bank & Stem Cells Research Centre Founded in 2009, Narayana Hrudayalaya Tissue Bank & Stem Cells Research Centre (NHTB-SCRC) works towards providing affordable cord blood banking solution in the country. NHTB-SCRC also works towards educating the public and medical professionals about the benefits of stem cell banking and stem cell-related therapies in India.
CryoSave (India) Pvt. Ltd. Established in 2000, CryoSave offers two primary services: umbilical cord stem cell preservation and cord tissue MSCs preservation.
Stemcyte India Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd. Stemcyte India is an extension of Stemcyte INC., Apollo Hospital Enterprises Ltd. and Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Headquartered in Gujarat, Stemcyte India has a public inventory of over 35,000 CBUs.
Indu Stem Cell Bank A venture of “Best Well Care Management Services Pvt. Ltd.”, Indu Stem Cell Bank works extensively in the field of stem cell banking in India. Founded in 2014, this bank is operational from Gujarat.
Path Care Labs Pvt. Ltd. Functional since 2008, Path Care Labs is a private stem cell bank operational in Hyderabad, India.
Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation Established in 1995, Jeevan was the first public cord blood bank in India. Headquartered in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Jeevan Blood Bank and Research Centre is liable to release 75% of CBUs for public and 25% for commercial purposes to the people of Tamil Nadu.
The School of Tropical Medicine The School of Tropical Medicine is the first public cord blood bank to be funded by the Government of India. Established in 2015, The School of Tropical Medicine is operated by the school’s Department of Regenerative Medicine and Translational Science in Kolkata.