Where did you store your children’s stem cells? I’m fairly certain that the vast majority of readers were not asked this question when they became parents.

For now, stem cell treatments (hematopoietic cells, to be precise) are most likely to be used in the battle against conditions related to blood cancer — leukaemia and aplastic anaemia. But in the not too distant future, we may not need to rely on stem cells harvested at birth. Researchers have already made strides in inducing adult cells to turn into stem cells — something for adventurous investors to bear in mind as they consider the prospects for the following companies.

For now, the industry is focused on umbilical cord blood, collected by a qualified physician in hospital immediately after a baby is born, delivered to a lab and then stored away in a major cord blood banking unit. There are now estimated to be 500 cord blood banks worldwide (there were just 23 in 2004), with 3m cord blood samples.

To read the full article on an investors view on the cord blood banking industry click here.