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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:

  1. Privately-held banks
  2. Government-owned (public) banks
  3. 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.

  • Private Stem Cell Banks in India

     

    No.

    Name of Stem Cell bank

    Founded

    City

    State

             

    1.

    LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd.

    2004

    Gurugram

    Haryana

    2.

    Reliance Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd.

    2001

    Navi Mumbai

    Maharashtra

    3.

    Ree Laboratories Pvt. Ltd.

    2010

    Mumbai

    Maharashtra

    4.

    Regenerative Medical Services Pvt. Ltd. (BioCell)

    2009

    Pune

    Maharashtra

    5.

    Cryobanks International India Pvt. Ltd.

    1993

    Gurugram

    Haryana

    6.

    Unistem Bio Sciences Pvt. Ltd.

    2014

    Gurugram

    Haryana

    7.

    Totipotentrx Cell Therapy Pvt. Ltd.

    2011

    Gurugram

    Haryana

    8.

    Cord Life Sciences India Pvt. Ltd.

    2001

    Parganas

    West Bengal

    9.

    Narayana Hrudayalaya Tissue Bank & Stem Cells Research Centre

    2009

    Bangalore

    Karnataka

    10.

    Cryo Save (India) Pvt. Ltd.

    2000

    Bangalore

    Karnataka

    11.

    Stemcyte India Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd.

    2008

    Gandhinagar

    Gujarat

    12.

    Indu Stem Cell Bank

    2014

    Vadodara

    Gujarat

    13.

    Path Care Labs Pvt Ltd.

    2008

    Hyderabad

    Andhra Pradesh

    14.

    MyCord (Cellugen Biotech)

    2008

    Gurugram

    Haryana

     

  • Public Stem Cell Banks in India

     

    No.

    Name of Stem Cell bank

    Founded

    City

    State

    1.      

    Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation

    1985

    Chennai

    Tamil Nadu

    2.      

    The School of Tropical Medicine

    2015

    Kolkata

    West Bengal

     

  • Community Banks in India

     

    No.

    Name of Stem Cell bank

    Founded

    City

    State

    1.      

    LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd.

    2004

    Chennai

    Tamil Nadu

  1. 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 3,00,000 parents and has a dual storage facility.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Totipotentrx Cell Therapy Pvt. Ltd.

    Established in 2011, Totipotentrx Cell Therapy Private Limited is a privately incorporated stem cell bank in India.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. CryoSave (India) Pvt. Ltd.

    Established in 2000, CryoSave offers two primary services: umbilical cord stem cell preservation and cord tissue MSCs preservation.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Path Care Labs Pvt. Ltd.

    Functional since 2008, Path Care Labs is a private stem cell bank operational in Hyderabad, India.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

Challenges Faced by Stem Cell Banking Industry in India

There is an add-on of approximately 10,00,000 new cancer patients per year in the country, and current stem cell banking scenario in India is unable to fulfil this growing need. Due to this lack of stem cells and high-cost storage, only a few patients can receive a stem cell transplant presently. To make stem cell banking more accessible and efficient in India, LifeCell International opted for a new banking model called community stem cell banking. Community stem cell banking not only benefits the baby but their entire family, including maternal & paternal grandparents.

LifeCell’s community stem cell banking is a mix of private and public stem cell banking model. In this model, a child’s cord blood is stored privately for two years and post that it is made accessible to other community members who are part of a shared pool.

Community stem cell banking increases the probability of finding a suitable stem cell match and expands treatment opportunity for Indian origin patients.

LifeCell Community Stem Cell Banking v/s Other Private Banking in India:

Features

LifeCell Community Bank

Other Private Bank (Cordlife,Cryoviva, Reelabs, Babycell)

Banking model support from medial bodies

YES

NO

Aligns with the recommendations of IAP, IMA, ACOG, AAP, ASBMT

YES

NO

LAB Certifications (AABB, cGMP, ISO, FACT, WHO, US-FDA, FDA, NABL, CAP, DCGI)

YES

NO (Only few certifications)

Access to LifeCell Registry

YES

NO

>96% chances to find stem cell match

YES

NO

Pre-existing conditions coverage

YES

NO

Unlimited samples free of cost

YES

NO

Coverage tenure for donor CBUs

Yes (75 Years)

NO (Only 21 years and for any one family member)

Unlimited protection for baby, siblings, parents and grandparents

Yes (75 Years)

NO (Only one UCB for any one family member)

The agreement terminates if the entire UCB unit is used for one SCT

NO

YES

Financial assistance for every SCT

YES

NO

Bone marrow or PBSC transplant cover

YES

NO

Dual Storage

YES

NO

Unlimited coverage for every SCT

YES

NO

Coverage tenure

75 Years

21 years & for any one family member

Release from future liabilities

NO

YES

Grandparents coverage

YES

NO

Transit insurance (Hospital to Lab)

YES

NO

Force majeure liability covered

YES

NO

Disaster relief

YES

NO

Cord blood expansion for every SCT

YES

NO

Continues protection in spite of rejection of sample due to low volume, unfit for processing or storage

YES

NO

Transplant experience/retrievals

52

3 (Cordlife)

International retrievals

12

0

Samples accepted in US FDA human trials

10

NONE

Worldwide shipping

YES + FREE

NO (PAID)

NGS HLA Typing

YES

NO

Free genomic profiling on CBU before release for transplants

YES

NO

Annual storage plan

YES

NO

21 years storage plan (OTP)

INR 50,000 + CC

INR 50,000 to INR 3,94,000 + CC

75 years storage plan(LTP)

INR 65,000 + CC

INR 50,000 to INR 3,94,000 + CC + INR 16,000 (LTP)