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J Blood Med. 2014 Jun 18;5:87-97. doi: 10.2147/JBM.S64090. eCollection 2014.

Umbilical cord blood banking: from personal donation to international public registries to global bioeconomy.

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Italian National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy.


The procedures for collecting voluntarily and freely donated umbilical cord blood (UCB) units and processing them for use in transplants are extremely costly, and the capital flows thus generated form part of an increasingly pervasive global bioeconomy. To place the issue in perspective, this article first examines the different types of UCB biobank, the organization of international registries of public UCB biobanks, the optimal size of national inventories, and the possibility of obtaining commercial products from donated units. The fees generally applied for the acquisition of UCB units for transplantation are then discussed, and some considerations are proposed regarding the social and ethical implications raised by the international network for the importation and exportation of UCB, with a particular emphasis on the globalized bioeconomy of UCB and its commerciality or lack thereof.


cord blood banking; economy; ethics; stem cells; transplantation

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