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Model Cell Biobank: a new business model for cord blood banks

Prosinec 2017
Joanna Tilley, PhD


The charity Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK was set up in 2015 after one of the Trustees sadly lost a family member. They established the charity to tackle blood cancer. The charity aims to raise awareness of stem cell therapies and will be working with Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation to produce educational material about stem cells, their uses today, and their potential uses in the future. The charity will also actively support stem cell research.

Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK is proud to have launched a cord blood banking service - Model Cell Biobank – that is FREE to qualifying families in the UK. This service is unique in the UK and represents a new business model where cord blood banking is supported by a patient advocacy organization.

Model Cell Biobank contracts with the laboratory of Biovault Technical to provide fully accredited cord blood banking services. The charity pays for all of the services including cord blood collection, processing, and 25 years of storage. The charity does not receive any government funding and relies on charitable donations in order to provide the service.

The charity offers the Model Cell Biobank service free of charge to UK residents who meet the eligibility criteria. In order to qualify, the mum-to-be must be receiving government benefits (Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, or Universal Credit) as well as either have cancer in the immediate family or a history of cancer in the immediate family.  Documentation from a medical doctor is required. If all these conditions are met, the cord blood stem cells will be stored for that child or another member of the family should they need them in the future.

The mission of Leukaemia & Myeloma Research UK is to prevent people dying from blood cancer through more effective treatment in the future. We are willing to fight blood cancer regardless of how long it might take.  Joanna Tilley PhD is the Head of the Model Cell Biobank project and was previously the Business Development Director of Biovault Technical Ltd.