Genetically-Related Cord Blood Stem Cells Do Better in Patient Transplants

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Genetically-Related Cord Blood Stem Cells Do Better in Patient Transplants Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 9,

Atlanta, GA ( — New research presented today at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting shows that using genetically-related cord blood stem cells in transplants increases the chance of success. The study reinforces the idea of parents storing their baby’s umbilical cords and blood for use in potential therapies.

Jennifer Willert, MD, is the senior attending transplant physician and clinical professor at Rady Children’s Hospital at the University of California, San Diego and the lead author of the study.

Her analysis examined processing, storage and transplant recipient data from Cord Blood Registry’s transplant programs.

CBR allows parents to preserve their newborn’s cord blood stem cells free of charge, for use by a related family member who has been diagnosed with a disease that can be treated with stem cells.

From June 1993 to November 2007, CBR released 59 cord blood stem cell units for transplant and physicians conducted the transplant procedures at 26 different transplant centers in 15 states.

Requested units were used in transplant for a variety of conditions, including malignant and non-malignant cancers, as well as regenerative medicine therapies to treat anoxic brain injury, cerebral palsy, type I diabetes and a rare immune disorder.

The study examined the patient diagnosis, age, weight, HLA-match and cell viability.

It found that stem cell transplants from genetically-related sources result in better survival rates than transplants from an unrelated donor. The results also showed they are associated with less frequent and less severe graft-vs.-host disease, a complication that occurs when the donor cells attack different parts of the body.

“It is my hope that this published information encourages more physicians on the front lines of maternity care to educate their patients about their cord blood banking options," Dr. Willert said.

Joseph Rosenthal, MD, Director, Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, City of Hope, said in a press statement to that, “This analysis confirms that patients who have access to a readily available source of autologous or related allogeneic cord blood stem cells have a better chance of securing a suitable donor match."