7 Advantages Of Cord Blood Banking

Advantages Of Cord Blood Banking

There are many advantages of cord blood stem cells and only because of these advantages cord blood collection and storing have gained much momentum during last few years. Researches suggest that stem cells from cord blood offer some important advantages over those retrieved from bone marrow. For example, stem cells from cord blood are much easier to get because they are readily obtained from the placenta at the time of delivery. Whereas, harvesting stem cells from bone marrow requires a surgical procedure, usually under general anesthesia, that can cause post-operative pain along with a small risk to the donor.

Cord blood stem cells can benefit a large number of recipients. Cord blood stem cells can be baned and transplanted back into the donor, to a family member or to an unrelated recipient, while in case of bone marrow transplant, there must be a nearly ideal match of certain tissue proteins between the donor and the recipient (which becomes a hard to achieve task sometime).

Cord blood stem cells
Advantages Of Cord Blood Banking

One positive finding is that cord blood transplant patients appear to suffer less from acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) than patients who receive bone marrow transplants. GVHD is a very serious, and sometimes fatal, condition that occurs when the patient’s new immune system — which is made up of stem cells from the donor — starts attacking the patient’s body. GVHD affects the skin and internal organs such as the liver and intestines. A 2000 study found that children who received a cord blood transplant from a closely matched sibling were 59 percent less likely to develop GVHD than children who received a bone marrow transplant from a closely matched sibling.

Despite the fact that cord blood recipients appear to suffer less from GVHD, it has not yet been proven that the risk of GVHD is less in all recipients after cord blood transplantation. Because children receive the most cord blood transplants, and because they also experience less GVHD than adults after bone marrow transplants, it may be that the success of cord blood transplants is at least partly attributable to the fact that they are used on more children than adults.

Other great advantages are the availability and ease of use. The use of cord blood may make blood stem cell transplants available more rapidly for people who need them. About 35000 individuals every year are diagnosed with conditions that could be treated with a bone marrow transplant.

About 25% of these individuals have a relative who is an appropriate tissue match. While suitable donors can be located for many through national bone marrow registries, the process can take months.

It often is more difficult to find a bone marrow match for members of non-white ethnic and racial groups; transplants from cord blood may make timely treatment available for more of these individuals. Banked stem cells from cord blood can be more readily available, and this can be especially crucial for patients with severe cases of leukemia, anemia or immune deficiency who would, differently, die before a match can be found.

Cord blood also is less likely to contain certain infectious agents, like some viruses, that can pose a risk to transplant recipients.

Moreover, some studies suggest that cord blood may have a greater ability to generate new blood cells than bone marrow. Ounce for ounce, there are nearly 10 times as many blood-producing cells in cord blood. This truth suggests that a smaller number of cord blood cells are needed for a successful transplantation.

In addition, cord blood stem cells offer some exciting possibilities for gene therapy for certain genetic diseases, especially those involving the immune system. Donald Kohn, MD, and colleagues at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of California in San Francisco, made the first attempt at gene therapy with cord blood in 1993 in three children suffering from adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency, a potentially fatal defect that cripples the immune system. The children, who also receive additional drug treatment, appear healthy to date, even though their blood now carries only a small amount of the gene introduced into their stem cells.


Studies have also found that banked cord blood (from both related and unrelated donors) often contains enough stem cells for transplantation.

Physicians need to match the number of stem cells in a cord blood unit with the weight of the patient to be sure the unit is likely to be able to reestablish the patient’s immune system. Because there are fewer stem cells in cord blood than in marrow, until recently most cord blood recipients have been children or small adults.

Therefore, there are some concerns that the number of cells in an average cord blood unit may not be sufficient for engraftment in larger adults. Engraftment occurs when the transplanted stem cells — the “graft” — regenerate the blood and marrow and begin to function as the recipient’s new immune system.

To summarise up the above-discussed advantages, below given are some main advantages of cord blood stem cell transplantation over marrow or blood stem cell transplants include:

  • Large potential donor pool;
  • Rapid availability, since the cord blood has been prescreened, tested, frozen and is ready to use;
  • No donor attrition, since the cord blood stem cells are already stored;
  • Potential for greater racial diversity and balance in the donor pool by focusing collection efforts on hospitals where births of children from diverse ethnic backgrounds are well represented;
  • No risk or discomfort for the donor;
  • Rare contamination by viruses and
  • Lower risk of graft-versus-host disease (a condition that occurs when donor cells attack the recipient’s organs and tissues), even for recipients with a less-than-perfect tissue match.

Advantages Of Cord Blood Banking

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