Stem Cell Banking: Current Trends, Benefits, Emerging Issues and Challenges

Stem Cell Banking: Current Trends, Benefits, Emerging Issues and Challenges
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Recent scientific advancements have made stem cell therapy an emerging and promising area of research. The establishment of stem cell banks around the globe has been growing rapidly, aimed at preserving the characteristics of the cells, preventing contamination, and facilitating their effective utilization in biomedical research and as well as in contemporary and future clinical applications.

During the past few years, the stem cell preservation sector has seen rapid growth, with many public hospitals, academic medical centers and private businesses considering the possibility of preserving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), and other types of stem cells from patients and the public will be used for future stem cell therapies.1

The human body has unspecialized cells called stem cells. Embryos and adults both have stem cells. In addition to their potential for self-renewal and multidirectional differentiation, stem cells are also known as “universal cells” and “seed cells”. It has also been called a “life bank” because stem cells are collected, prepared, stored, and used for research.2

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The collection and use of biological material has been going on for a long time, and it comes as no surprise to see that stem cell research has recently sustained its focus resulting in the increased need for stem cells and stem cell lines available for both therapeutic and research purposes.3

Scientists classify stem cells according to their ability to differentiate into other cell types. The five different types of stem cells by differentiation potential are:

  • Unipotent Stem Cells
  • Oligopotent Stem Cells
  • Multipotent Stem Cells
  • Totipotent Stem Cells
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers are exploring the potential of stem cells in various approaches including drug discovery, regenerative medicine, toxicology, cell therapy, and developmental biology. Furthermore, a number of stem cells are derived from tissue that only occurs once in a lifetime. Nowadays, many diseases like blood cancer can be treated with cord blood that was previously thrown away.4 Stored cells can be banked or preserved for long periods, making them available for immediate treatment when needed and preventing disease progression.

Stem cells are capable of multiplying indefinitely, either into a new stem cell with the same potential or into a new cell with much more specialized characteristics. The investigation of these stem cells and the ability to control their specialization into various cell types and tissues, as well as the development of methods that would avoid transplant rejection, has generated considerable scientific interest.5

Therefore, scientists anticipate that the use of stem cells and their differentiation into specific differentiated stem cell lines will result in substantial improvements in a wide variety of fields, including biochemical studies; gene therapy (such as the use of genetically modified, HIV-resistant haematopoietic stem cells); and regenerative medicine, using transplantation of cells and tissues to treat diseases.6

Research must move from being sporadic to becoming a sustained collaborative endeavor, however, in order to realize their full potential. To achieve this, it may be necessary to establish stem cell repositories that will enable scientists to study stem cells and stem cell lines without them having to acquire the necessary expertise and without needing to go through the laborious process of reliably isolating and producing them.

Even when stem cells are being used for treatment purposes, however, they must be stored for future autologous or allogeneic use. This process would reduce the use of human tissues and allow greater comparisons across studies.7 As a result, stem cell banks have been established for both future therapy and current research which also raises certain ethical, legal, and social issues.

Current Trends

These days, stem cell banking has gained a great deal of recognition and importance. Scientists are learning a lot about stem cells, but it’s a complex and contentious field. So many nations have invested heavily in stem cell research and its applications because this field has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of human diseases. New Trends in Stem Cell Biology and Technology presents new facets of stem cell science by discussing genetic reprogramming of somatic and nuclear cells, tissue engineering, stem cell mechanics, and technologies to treat different human diseases using stem cells. Numerous success stories resulting from stem cell therapy have influenced many parents to preserve their child’s stem cells.8

One of the advantages of stem cell banking is that it has the potential to treat a wide range of diseases; the ability to bank stem cells from multiple family members; and the possibility of using a person’s own stem cells (autologous transplant).  One of the most important characteristics is the ability to help others. The stem cells of one person can be used to help another. Despite their immaturity, these cells can take on the form of another cell if matched to another person. The importance and popularity of stem cell therapy has been on the rise in recent years, and new breakthroughs are helping many people deal with a variety of diseases.9


In order to make stem cells useful for medical purposes, they need to be able to be preserved. Stem cell preservation allows cells to be moved from one site to another and testing can also be done safely and properly. A manufacturing paradigm can be created for cell therapies by preserving them. Some notable stem cell preservation benefits include:

  • The body’s own stem cells are capable of treating a wide variety of diseases.
  • In comparison with bone marrow, cord blood contains more stem cells. In most cases, cord blood can be used for the collection of stem cells without any difficulty. It does not hurt or harm the mother or the baby.10
  • Approximately 80 life-threatening diseases and disorders are treated using umbilical cord blood stem cells – including blood disorders, immune system disorders, genetic disorders, and cancer.11
  • If you need stem cell therapy, you can find a perfect match instantly through stem cell banking, which saves you a lot of time and money.
  • Embryonic stem cells derived from one baby can be used to treat another infant or adult.
  • Even spinal injuries can be treated with stem cells, and cardiac tissues can be recreated to resemble the body’s own without the risk of mismatched tissues.12

Stem cells represent one of the most fascinating and innovative fields. Research on stem cells (SCs) is growing rapidly; these cells are showing great therapeutic potential for treating many diseases that were once considered incurable. The ability of stem cells to create healthy new tissues and cells can help to treat a wide range of diseases or disorders.13 These are a few examples of diseases that have been treated with stored or preserved Stem Cells:

Human Tissue and Organ Regeneration

Regeneration of tissue and organs can be achieved by using the stored stem cells. To meet the demands of organs which are needed, such as skin tissue, organs can be regenerated and donated and transplanted in case of organ failure.14 

Type I diabetes treatment

Diabetes type I occurs when the pancreatic cells, which are responsible for producing insulin, do not function properly, causing the body to lack or produce very little insulin. Transplanting pancreatic stem cells into patients with type I diabetes can be done using preserved stem cells. Patients whose immune systems have destroyed their insulin-producing cells may be able to replace those cells with these cells, and the problem could be resolved.15

Cardiovascular issues treatment

Problems with the blood vessels are primarily responsible for cardiovascular disease. A team of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital was able to produce new blood vessels from stem cells that resembled natural blood vessels in both their appearance and function. As a result, stem cells from the bank can be used to repair or regenerate a variety of tissues in humans, helping them manage conditions such as vascular and cardiovascular disease.16

Blood-related issues Treatment

The cord blood and placenta are rich in hematopoietic stem cells and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). This ability is somehow to differentiate into all other blood cells types and makes them successful in treating diseases like leukemia, sickle cell anaemia, and other immunodeficiencies.17

Brain disease treatment

There are a lot of neurological disorders that are associated with the cellular loss after injury. The treatment of such disorders can be done with stem cells.

A disorder such as Parkinson’s, for example, causes uncontrolled muscle movement due to damage to brain cells. Researchers can use stem cells to restore brain tissue damaged by Parkinson’s disease. These new brain cells may be able to prevent uncontrolled movements of the muscles.18

Stem Cell Banking Issues

Stem cells are increasingly needed to treat human diseases. Thus, there will be an increasing need to preserve those cell types that are clinically relevant and effective.

The preservation of stem cells does not have a universal method. It’s hard to reuse protocols developed for hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to preserve mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), proving that each cell type has its own biology and that preservation protocols must be based on that biology.19

There are a lot of ways to preserve cells, but science must drive the development of new protocols or the modification of old ones. In the absence of proper handling (introduction of the preservation solution, freezing, storage, warming), each element of the protocol can damage the cells. Training should be provided to individuals who perform preservation protocols in order to ensure that they understand how important those elements are and how to do them.

It is imperative that effective methods of cell preservation be developed that do not require dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). A human infusion of DMSO is not recommended; it has adverse effects on the human body and can cause epigenetic alterations within the cells.20

In light of the growing usage of stem cells in clinical medicine, it will be more important than ever to develop alternative techniques for preserving the cells-even for cells that have successfully been preserved in the past.

Currently, keeping cells alive requires a lot of labor and operator dependence, and it may also require equipment that’s not readily available. There will be a need for new technology that can facilitate high-efficiency cell processing. In order to preserve cells effectively in different contexts, protocols need to be developed.

Nowadays, stem cells are facing a lot of challenges. In the beginning, it is of greatest importance to fully understand how stem cells function in animal models. Taking this step must be the first step. Concern about the unknown is the greatest obstacle to the widespread, global acceptance of the procedure.

Medical and scientific advances must be carefully monitored to ensure their ethics and safety. As stem cell therapy already affects so many aspects of life, we shouldn’t think any differently about it.21

Stem Cell Banking Challenges

The major challenge with stem cell banking is obtaining high-quality stem cells. Stem cells must be collected from a tissue that is healthy and free of disease. They must also be properly processed and stored so that they retain their potency.

Another challenge is ensuring that stem cell banks are accessible to people who need them. Private stem cell banks may be cost-prohibitive for some patients, while public banks may not have the capacity to meet the demand for stem cells.22

In light of the increasing interest in stem cells from the scientific community, stem cell banking is considered crucial for the future development of stem cell research. This would more than likely increase the demand for easily accessible and top-notch biospecimens.

It is true that stem cell banking faces many challenges, but it continues to make great progress every day. Several diseases have already been successfully treated through stem cell banking. Therefore stem cell banking is expected to play a significant role in the near future of medicine and healthcare.


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