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Private umbilical cord banking not cost-effective, UCSF research shows
Date:9/22/2009

survey of private cord blood banks by the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation found that of the approximately 460,000 cord blood units banked, only 99 were confirmed as being shipped for use in treatment.

The decision-analytic model used by the research team included four baseline assumptions: a cost of $3,620, the lowest price quoted from major blood banking company web sites, for umbilical cord blood banking and storage for 20 years; a .04 percent chance of requiring an autologous (self) or stem cell transplant; a .07 percent chance of a sibling requiring an allogenic (from another person) stem cell transplant; and a 50 percent reduction in risk of graft-versus-host disease if a sibling receives a transplant of banked umbilical cord blood cells.

The UCSF team concluded that if the cost of umbilical cord blood banking is less than $262 or the likelihood of a child needing a stem cell transplant is greater than one out of 110, then private umbilical cord blood banking becomes cost-effective.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages cord blood donation when the cord blood is stored in a bank for public use and discourages storing cord blood as "biological insurance" because there currently are no scientific data to support autologous transplantation. The AAP does encourage private cord blood banking when there is knowledge of a full sibling in the family with a medical condition (malignant or genetic) who potentially could benefit from cord blood transplantation.

"The discrepancy between the benefits of private cord blood banking perceived by families and the lack of benefit seen in this analysis, and in the opinions of professional societies, has important implications for how doctors counsel patients," said Anjali Kaimal, MD, MAS, lead author of the study and a recent graduate of the UCSF Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellowship which is directed by Caughey. Kaimal's work on the study was done while at
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Contact: Karin Rush-Monroe
karin.rush-monroe@ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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