14 November 2007
Following the launch of a commercial service to harvest and store stem cells from excess IVF embryos (see previous news), another US company is offering a new service to women to harvest and store stem cells from menstrual blood samples. The charge is significantly lower than for cord blood or embryonic stem cell banking at around £238 for processing and a year's storage, and company Cryo-Cell claims this approach is less invasive than other forms of stem cell banking, but stem cell experts have condemned their service as premature and exploitative. The company itself acknowledges that "realistically, it may take several years for these menstrual stem cells to be developed into potential widely-available commercial therapies", whilst asserting that stem cells in menstrual blood have all the properties required for regenerative medical applications. However, Professor Peter Braude of King’s College London told the BBC: "This is all hypothesis and hype. This is such a long way off…The thing that worries me most is that it is capitalising on people's insecurity" (see BBC news).