February 28, 2009
A new type of stem cell derived from menstrual blood and other discoveries are providing significant steps forward in providing an ethical, easily accessible, and potentially highly useful adult stem cell for treatment of numerous degenerative conditions. Recent scientific studies show cells taken from menstrual blood can be converted into major tissues of the body, can be cultivated in the lab and used like stem cells in repairing damaged heart tissue, and address major issues including routine and safe cell harvesting of renewable cells that maintain their differentiation capacity and can be scaled for widespread clinical use.
“The recent discovery of the novel stem cell population in menstrual blood and related findings are scientific breakthroughs that are opening the doors to a new dimension in private stem cell/family banking, which has been primarily focused on umbilical cord blood,” said David Koos, Chairman and CEO of Bio-Matrix Scientific Group, Inc., an emerging San Diego, CA-based research and development biotechnology company. BMSN opened its commercial cryogenic stem cell banking and processing facility in 2008 focusing on stem cells derived from cord blood and peripheral blood.
There are also new developments in collection devices, processing and transplantation technology of umbilical cord blood, another non-controversial and valuable source of stem cells that have proven effective in treating more than 70 serious diseases, including many cancers.
The overall adult stem cell therapy market, still considered to be in its infancy, is expected to grow rapidly as products are approved in the U.S. There are currently only a few products on the market, but by 2017 almost 90 are expected to be available, according to an analysis by Millennium Research Group, a medical technology market intelligence company based in Toronto, Canada, (“U.S. Markets for Stem Cell Therapies 2007” report). The development of the U.S. market for stem cell therapies is largely dependent on the success of clinical trials, regulatory approval and public acceptance.
The potential for the umbilical cord blood stem cell collection and storage market in the U.S. is perhaps four million new births per year, according to industry reports. In 2007 the cord blood market was estimated at approximately $150 million with projections of reaching $1billion by 2010, according to Cord Blood America, a Los Angeles, CA-based holding company that operates its cord blood business through CorCell Companies, Inc. of Philadelphia, PA. (See overview of U.S. private/family banks below.)
Industry observers believe the current and potential market for other types of adult stem cell collection and storage is many times larger. Most stem cell banks worldwide have focused primarily on the storage of umbilical cord blood specimens, which can only be harvested immediately after birth. The other principle sources of adult stem cells are bone marrow, peripheral blood (circulating throughout the body), adipose (fat) tissue, and recent discovery of stem cells isolated from menstrual blood. In contrast to cord blood stem cells, adipose-derived and menstrual-derived stem cells can be harvested at any point of an individual’s life for regenerative medical purposes.
Robin Young, a financial analyst who follows the stem cell industry, estimated in 2007 that the stem cell market may exceed $8 billion worldwide by 2016, and that there are 200 companies working in stem cells.
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