Adult Stem Cell Industry Experiences Rapid Growth, Clinical Successes

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 20, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Adult Stem Cell Industry Experiences Rapid Growth, Clinical Successes

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
July 20, 2004

Tucson, AZ ( — While controversy continues to rage over embryonic stem cell research, the adult stem cell research industry is experiencing rapid growth.

For instance, Cord Blood Registry, the world’s largest adult stem cell bank, last week reported a growth rate of 83 percent, signaling that non-destructive adult stem cell research is being embraced by people around the world.

CBR co-founder Stephen Grant credits the growth, in part, to a greater awareness of the power of adult stem cells in regenerative medicine.

The company preserves more than 260,000 units of cells for clients around the world. Its laboratory in Tucson, which is the largest facility of its kind, has a total capacity for more than ten million units.

The company’s chief financial officer, Johnnie Domingue, said, "We anticipate continued accelerated revenue growth…It is very important to our clients that we are a financially strong and profitable company so they can trust that we will be around for the long term. We are not a risky biotech company."

Recent financial reports indicate that adult stem cell research is clearly a growth industry which can generate jobs and tax dollars. The success of such research is in sharp contrast to embryonic stem cell research, which has failed to achieve results in the research lab.

Embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of human embryos, raising concerns among a number of bioethicists and public officials alike.

But adult stem cell research poses no threat to human life. CBR, for example, preserves cord blood stem cells from newborn babies. The cells can be used for treatments for the baby, the baby’s siblings, or other family members.

CBR is not the only company that is expanding as a result of the growth in adult stem cell research.

Last week, U.S.-based CorCell, Inc. and Germany’s VITA 34 merged to form a new company headquartered in Leipzig, Germany. The new company expects its 2004 revenues will exceed $16 million.

CorCell, which was founded in 1995 and based in Philadelphia, is the first licensed private cord blood stem cell bank in the U.S. VITA 34, founded in 1997, is the European market leader in cord blood storage.

Adult stem cells have shown great promise in treating a range of diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, leukemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, as well as ailments involving the liver and pancreas.

G. Fred DiBona, Jr., President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, a leading health insurer and an investor in CorCell, said, "For the millions of people who suffer from diseases and conditions affecting the blood and immune system, among other maladies, the field of cord blood stem cell research holds important promise."

Physician Rolf Krebs, a member of the new company’s supervisory board, added, "Stem cells and cell-based therapies are among the most significant developments in modern medicine. They may revolutionize the treatment of many diseases."

Related web sites:
Cord Bank Registry –
CorCell –