- The past 20 years of experience with umbilical cord blood transplantation have demonstrated that cord blood is effective in the treatment of a spectrum of diseases, including hematological malignancies, bone marrow failure, hemoglobinopathies, and inborn errors of metabolism. Cord blood can be obtained with ease and then safely cryopreserved for either public or private use without loss of viability. As compared to other unrelated donor cell sources, cord blood transplantation allows for greater human leukocyte antigen disparity without a corresponding increase in graft-vs.-host disease.
- Stem cells have been isolated from human embryos, fetal tissue, umbilical cord blood (UCB), and also from “adult” sources. Adult stem cells are found in many tissues of the body and are capable of maintaining, generating, and replacing terminally differentiated cells. A source of pluripotent stem cells has been recently identified in UCB that can also differentiate across tissue lineage boundaries into neural, cardiac, epithelial, hepatocytic, and dermal tissue. Thus, UCB may provide a future source of stem cells for tissue repair and regeneration.