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A) How do you evaluate the global cord blood banking industry trend?

Worldwide, the two big trends in the cord blood banking industry are that public banks are struggling to stay in business and family banks have been consolidating.

In Western countries, the number of cord blood units released from public banks for transplants is less than half of what it was a decade ago. Many banks are seeking new applications for their inventory in advanced cell therapies derived from cord blood cells.  Royan may be shielded from these trends by unique factors in Iran. The desire to find stem cell donors within the country will drive more patients in Iran to consider cord blood transplants. Also the high rate of Thalassemia in the native population creates an ongoing need for sibling donors for pediatric stem cell transplants.

Family cord blood banks in several major markets are dropping their prices. These include the United States, Brazil, and parts of Europe. The pace at which large multinational companies are buying up small banks has increased. This is not a concern for Royan, because you are not competing against other banks. Really, for Royan the challenge is to improve on your own past accomplishments and try to reach deeper penetration among the mothers giving birth.




B) The applications of cord blood stem cells

The status of research with cord blood remains at a bit of a status quo. There are about 80 diseases that can be cured with cord blood transplants, including Thalassemia. There are a number of treatments for neurological conditions that are in clinical trials, but the progress of that pipeline of trials is slow, which is why we are in a status quo. The promising clinical trials cover oxygen deprivation at birth (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy), cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. Any one of these conditions impacts many more people than all the childhood cancers combined.

Reference: https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/odds

C) The latest clinical trial performed taking advantage of cord blood stem cells

The most interesting recent clinical trial that uses cells from cord blood is a study that hopes to repair damaged nerve sheaths in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The trial was registered by Dr. Kurtzberg’s team at Duke University in summer 2021.

Reference: https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/cord-blood-therapy-multiple-sclerosis

D) How do you predict the future development and applications of cord blood stem cells? 

It is always difficult to predict the future, but I believe that a decade from now the medical applications of cord blood will be more diverse than just transplants. I believe some of the cord blood therapies for neurological conditions will have achieve mainstream acceptance, and that some cell therapy products manufactured from cord blood will be brought to market.

E) Your opinion about Royan Cord Blood Stem Cell Technology Company

I have always been impressed with the quantity and quality of stem cell research in Iran, and our hearts are warmed by the stories of lives saved through the work of Royan. During the Coronavirus pandemic, our group at CellTrials.org has been compiling all cell therapy clinical trials for COVID-19 worldwide. For the 18 months from January 2020 through June 2021, we have 185 trials, more than double the number in any other compilation. We find that the top 3 countries in the world for numbers of COVID-19 cell therapy trials are: United States (50), China (42), and Iran (18). Yes, Iran is #3 in the world. Most people do not realize this because they do not search the Iran trial registry when they collect trials, but we are following your work.

Reference: https://stemcellsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/sct3.13002

Data download: https://celltrials.org/public-cells-data/celltrials.org-covid-19-clinical-trials-/79

F) A brief history about yourself, Parents' Guide organization and if possible your photo, please.

I started the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood in 1998, in memory of my daughter Shai that died of childhood cancer. It has grown to become the most well-known international organization in the field of cord blood banking. I eventually left my job as a scientist at NASA to work full time running this Foundation.


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