Many parents looking to bank their child’s cord blood stem cells with Cells for Life want to know whether the units will still be viable by the time their child is grown.
The maximum storage time for cord blood stem cells is a moving target. In fact, most cord blood banks do not label the units with an expiration date, as the number is likely to change.
Since cord blood banking has only been in existence for 25 years, no scientific data is available to prove cord blood stem cells can be stored for longer than that.
However, scientists have reported that cryogenically preserved cells have no expiration date, and frozen cord blood possibly can be stored indefinitely. This is supported by two key facts:
- Cord blood stem cells are stored at or below -190 degrees Celsius, where biological activity ceases.
- Other cell types and sperm have been stored for 50+ years and have remained viable when thawed.
20-Plus Years of Storing Cord Blood
The first cord blood transplant was performed in Paris on October 6, 1988. Since that time, over 1 million cord blood units have been collected and stored in public and family banks all over the world.
Banking of stem cells from cord blood began in 1994 with the foundation of the New York Blood Centre Cord Blood Bank. The field of umbilical cord blood storage has matured considerably over the last two decades. We continue to learn more about the long-term effects of cryo-preservation on the cells, which has resulted in increased storage times.
The longest study to date, published in 2011 by Broxmeyer at al found that stem cells cyro-preserved for 22.5 years engrafted as expected. There was no significant loss of stem cell recovery or proliferation.
Banking Cord Blood with Cells for Life
At Cells for Life, we’re constantly working to optimize cord blood stem cell processing, freezing and storage methods.
We use highly sophisticated equipment that has been carefully evaluated and selected to provide high quality results.
Cells for Life’s biorepository has the capacity for more than 125,000 cord blood samples. The samples are stored at -190 degrees C in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen.