blood test 521.
(photo credit: BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, TECHNION)
The Tel Aviv District Court will hold a hearing next week on a lawsuit against
the private cord blood bank Biocord regarding its alleged mishandling of donors’
cord blood donations and noncompliance with Health Ministry
A cord blood bank is a facility that stores umbilical cord
blood for future use.
Both private and public cord blood banks have
developed since the mid-to-late- 1990s in response to the development of cord
blood transplants for treating diseases in the circulatory and immune
Public banks accept donations to be used for anyone in need and
the donated blood is also used for research purposes.
Private cord blood
banking is more controversial as it entails considerable fees and is premised on
being saved for the person who donated it as a baby should that person later get
Cord blood contains a special kind of stem cells that can form red
blood cells, white blood cells or platelets.
Because of their special
properties, cord blood cells are used to treat blood disorders cancers and
genetic diseases related to the immune and circulatory systems.
November 2012, a law was approved regulating the storage and handling of cord
blood. Before it went into force, companies such as Biocord had operated on an
Soon after, the Health Ministry found that Biocord was
not in compliance with the criteria for storing and handling cord blood, nor was
it economically stable enough to maintain operations in the long term.
the end of last month, the ministry ordered Biocord to stop taking new clients
and to inform its current clientele that it could not continue
As a result of the public controversy, Biocord lost its
contracts for maintaining the cord blood in regular locations and was forced to
relocate the cord blood to a storage facility in Rishon Lezion.
of the violations noted by the ministry and the transfer of the cord blood, the
ministry and the parents who donated their children’s cord blood to Biocord’s
bank have been concerned that the cord blood could be damaged.
Wednesday, the Tel Aviv District Court ordered Biocord to report by next week on
the condition of the cord blood it is storing and to hand over a list of all of
The court also ruled that an immediate solution should be
found for safe and permanent storage of the cord blood, even if the solution
must be carried out before all of the financial disputes are worked
The court ordered these actions in order to secure the cord blood,
and so it can make a final decision about what should happen to the cord blood
and what steps should be taken generally regarding the embattled
To move ahead with a solution regarding storage even before
financial issues were ironed out was notable, in that much of the hearing
revolved around the fight over the financial condition of the company and what
potential buyers were out there for the rights to maintain the cord
Medical critics say the impact of cord blood is still unproven and
criticize the private cord blood banks the most for their aggressive marketing.