Cord-blood banking has become an important component in the development of stem-cell innovation and regenerative medicine, but this field is also characterized by acute uncertainty. This essay explores China's public–private banking model through an empirical case study of the Tianjin Cord Blood Bank. I argue that the Chinese model of “using banks to pay for banks” reflects a mutation in contemporary biopolitics. This model could help solve funding problems in the collection of public cord blood, but it also creates public–private tensions and dilemmas within the cord-blood economy. Thus, robust and strict regulations are needed to encourage the development of biomedical innovation while protecting the public interest in China.
Research Article|September 01 2011