Canada is developing a national public umbilical Cord Blood stem cell bank

Canadian Blood Service (“CBS”) recently announced that the provincial and territorial ministries of health (excluding Quebec) are making a $48 million investment over the next 8 years to create a national public umbilical cord blood bank. The cord blood bank will be managed and developed by Canadian Blood Services.

Insception Lifebank applauds this decision by the Health Ministries of Canada’s provinces and territories. This initiative addresses that Canada lags the developed world in the establishment of a government funded public cord blood bank. Increasingly cord blood is becoming a preferred source of stem cells for use in the treatment of many types of diseases. Currently unless a matched cryopreserved cord blood unit from a family member is immediately available, hospitals in Canada performing these transplants must search world wide registries and purchase cord blood units from international sources at a cost of approximately $30,000 US per cord.

Fewer than a half of these searches are successful in finding an available match and with Canada’s ethnic diversity increasing it is becoming even more difficult to find suitable matches within international registries where there is typically an under representation of ethnic minorities.

As Canada’s oldest and largest Family Cord Blood Bank, Insception Lifebank will continue to offer parents an alternative to publicly banking their child’s umbilical cord blood. The principle advantages to private banking are: access to one’s own cord for personal or family use; greater probabilities of HLA matching especially for families of mixed race marriages; immediate access in case of an urgent need; complete medical history information with regard to latent viruses and availablility for use in the rapidly developing field of regenerative/cellular therapies which typically require one’s own stem cells.