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Family Bank: Cell Care
Cell Care is Australia’s leading family cord bank and has been collecting, processing, storing and retrieving cord stem cells for almost 10 years. It has successfully released samples for both autologous (the child’s own) and directed allogeneic (sibling) treatments.
Labs and Locations
Cell Care owns and operates a purpose built, state-of-the-art stem cell laboratory and storage facility in Melbourne, Victoria.
Cell Care is an Australian owned private company formed by bringing together the resources of two of Australia’s original cord blood banks, Biocell and Cellsense. With more than 14 years combined experience, Cell Care is the largest cord blood bank in Australia, and has successfully stored more than 12,000 cord blood samples. Cell Care has also successfully released more cord blood samples for use than any other private bank in Australia. Cell Care has staff available 24/7 to assist with enquiries. They can be reached toll free on 1 800 071 075.
Cell Care collects cord blood using gravity feed collection into a specialised cord blood collection bag. The bag provided is operating theatre sterile to facilitate C-Section use. The cord tissue collection kit contains all the equipment required to collect cord tissue and safely transport it back to the laboratory for processing and storage.
Cell Care uses a purpose-designed and validated insulated courier pack containing temperature stabilisers to ensure that the cells are transported at the required temperature. The pack includes a data-logger which monitors the temperature of the cord blood or cord blood + tissue and keeps a detailed log of transport temperatures.
Once the Cord Blood or Cord Blood + Tissue has been collected, parents are required to contact Cell Care. Cell Care then arranges for the Cord Blood or Cord Blood + Tissue to be collected from the hospital and transported to Cell Care’s laboratory using a specialist medical courier, ensuring that processing occurs within 36 hours of birth. Real-time tracking during transit to the laboratory ensures that Cell Care knows exactly where the Cord Blood or Cord Blood + Tissue is at all times after leaving the hospital.
As soon as the Cord Blood or Cord Blood + Tissue is received at the processing laboratory, Cell Care sends an SMS to the parents notifying them of its arrival.
Following successful processing and storage, Cell Care provides the client with a Certificate of Storage and the mother’s obstetrician or attending doctor with confirmation of collection and details for their records.
Shipping is included in the price.
Cord blood processing is performed using the Optipress volume reduction method. This results in a red cell reduced stem cell product.
The stem cells are held in the buffy coat layer which is separated from the rest of the blood and stored together with a number of individual aliquots that can be used for future testing.
Final storage is in two individual blood bags in the vapour phase of cryogenic nitrogen.
Licensing & Accreditation
Cell Care has a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Licence to collect, process, store and release cord blood for all members of the family. The laboratory is cGMP compliant.
Cell Care has released 2 cord blood collections for therapy of the baby that banked (autologous use) and 1 cord blood collection for family use, more than any other private bank in Australia. Supporting the development of science in the field of cellular therapies is one of the core aims of Cell Care:
- Cell Care is working with a team from The Children's Hospital at Westmead (Sydney, Australia) to examine the impact of autologous cord blood treatment to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes in at-risk children.
- Cell Care is also supporting a cerebral palsy clinical trial conducted by the Monash Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Australia) to investigate the impact of autologous cord blood reinfusion on children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Cell Care is a strong Australian company with low debt levels. Cell Care owns its premises and equipment used to process and store cells. In the very unlikely event that Cell Care is unable to provide storage services at some time in the future, clients would be able to transfer their cells to another provider of storage services without losing any money on a prepaid storage contract.
Cell Care recognises that the cost of banking cord blood is beyond the means of some parents, even if they would like to store their baby’s cord blood or cord blood + tissue. Accordingly, if an obstetrician has a patient whose baby is, because of family history or other factors, likely to be at risk of having a condition treatable by cord blood (or cord tissue in the future), and the patient is financially unable to meet the costs of cord blood or cord blood + tissue storage, the obstetrician may apply to Cell Care for a Hardship Programme subsidy on behalf of the patient. Depending on the particular circumstances, Cell Care will, at its discretion, meet part or all of the processing fee and part or all of the storage fees for an appropriate period.
Cell Care is also developing an At-Risk Programme. Participating hospitals store spare Cell Care Cord Blood Collection Kits accessible to the birthing suites. If, in the opinion of the delivering doctor or health professional, a newly delivered baby is at reasonable risk at developing cerebral palsy or other conditions potentially treatable by cord blood, the doctor may request a Cell Care Collection Kit and collect the baby’s cord blood. In these cases there will be no charge for the collection kit or cost of transport to Cell Care. The remainder of Cell Care’s fees will generally be payable, although the parents may be eligible for the Cell Care Hardship Programme.
Cell Care seeks to make cord banking options affordable, whether you choose Cord Blood or Cord Blood + Tissue. Cell Care’s pricing is made up of two parts:
- First, a processing fee that includes collection kit, transport (other than remote locations), laboratory processing, serology testing and cryopreservation. Parents can choose a monthly payment plan that spreads the processing fee over 12 months, starting up to 6 months following the birth.
- Second, a storage fee is payable annually starting 6 months after birth, for as long as you (or your child) choose to keep the cells or until they are withdrawn from storage for use in a treatment. The storage fee is adjusted annually for CPI.
Additional advantages of Cell Care prices:
- Cell Care prices are the same throughout Australia; there are no additional charges if you live outside the major cities.
- Discounts are available for: blocks of pre-paid storage, birth of multiple babies, and returning clients.
- A pro-rata refund will be made for any unused period of storage if cells are withdrawn for treatment.
- There are no costs for retrieving cells for treatment inside Australia.
- For any queries about pricing please call 1800 071 075 (Toll Free)
|Service||Cord Blood|| Cord Blood
|Storage fee||$175 pa||$300 pa|
Extra charge for trained cord blood collector:
For most patients in a private hospital, their obstetricians will carry out the collection. However, if you are having your baby in a public hospital, or for some other reason your doctor is unable to carry out the collection, you can arrange for one of Cell Care’s trained collectors to attend the birth and carry out the collection of your baby’s cord blood. This service is available 24/7 and costs $275 (or $25 per month if added to the monthly payment plan) for cord blood collection or $325 (or $30 per month if added to the monthly payment plan) for Cord Blood + Tissue collection.
In April 2012, Cell Care became the first Australian cord bank to offer cord tissue banking to families. Cord tissue banking allows families to collect and preserve a segment of the umbilical cord, which is a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a type of stem cell that assists in building bone, cartilage and connective tissue as well as mediating the body’s inflammatory response to damaged or injured cells. MSCs are currently being researched for use in treating a wide range of conditions including heart disease, stroke, bone disease and injury, and autoimmune diseases (like type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis). MSCs are needed for building connective tissue, so another potential treatment application may be for common joint and sports injuries.
This population of stem cells is a preferred source for current research in regenerative medicine because these cells have demonstrated the ability to develop into all of the major cell types in the body and help heal injured tissue. Collecting both types of newborn stem cells will provide an individual a more diverse cellular resource for potential future use as medical research in regenerative therapies using stem cells advances.
The science around cord tissue is a young and rapidly evolving field. Researchers are continuing to discover unique cell types within the cord and are investigating the use of specific types of stem cells for specific applications. Each of these cell types represents a potentially unique therapeutic product. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are an increasing focus of regenerative medicine research, with numerous clinical studies looking at their role in emerging therapies.
Cell Care has worked closely with Monash Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Vic, Australia) to develop its cord tissue banking standard operating procedures to successfully preserve umbilical cord tissue. As part of Cell Care’s collaboration with Monash in the development of cord tissue, Cell Care has built a major new laboratory facility, which includes a special-purpose cell facility developed jointly with Monash and the Victorian Government's Consortium for Cell Based Therapies.
Prices with Additional Services
See above under Pricing.