The International NetCord Foundation is a non-profit association of umbilical cord blood banks whose members comprise the largest source of high-quality cord blood grafts for patients in need of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Established in 1997, NetCord currently has nearly 35 member banks and registries with an inventory that exceeds 211,000 units, representing about 51% of the global supply of publicly banked cord blood. NetCord banks have released more than 10,434 units of cord blood for transplantation in adults and children.
NetCord sponsors standards and accreditation for umbilical cord blood banks. It also promotes studies and research on cord blood collection processes, the characterization and preservation of cells, ex-vivo expansion of placental and umbilical cord blood, and quality improvement of blood components for clinical cellular therapy.
To ensure high and uniform quality of all cord blood units in its inventory, NetCord began a collaboration in 1999 with the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT). Together in 2000 they published the first NetCord-FACT International Standards for Cord Blood Collection, Processing, Testing, Banking, Selection and Release. New editions of the Standards are published at approximately three-year intervals to keep abreast of the latest developments and requirements of high-quality banking.
Inspections of cord blood banks began in 2001. Today the Standards are universally recognized by stem cell transplant programs.
NetCord also maintains a Virtual Office for online search and procurement of matched cells. Located at www.netcord.eu, the Virtual Office enables transplant centers and coordinators to search the entire inventory of member banks at no cost and find available, compatible units. The inventory represents a wide range of ethnicity.
The Virtual Office provides high-resolution HLA typing, graft size and cell count. By submitting a search request to the Virtual Office, transplant centers do not have to search individual databases of multiple cord blood banks. They can receive a single unified search report of all units that are available from NetCord-member banks. The up-to-date information in the Virtual Office helps prevent allocation conflicts.
Because of a recently concluded reciprocal agreement with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) in the United States, searches conducted through the NetCord Virtual Office also include the inventory of NMDP-affiliated banks, and searches conducted through the NMDP Center for Cord Blood include the NetCord inventory.
The collection and analysis of clinical and treatment outcomes data is coordinated with Eurocord and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR).