Boston—Sixteen years after the first
successful stem cells transplant using umbilical cord blood, cord blood has
proved to be a viable alternative to bone marrow as a source of these life-saving
cells to treat a variety of diseases, according to clinicians and researchers
who gathered here last month at the Sixth International Cord Blood Society
Since that landmark effort in 1988, when cord blood donated by a sibling
infused into a 5-year-old boy with Fanconi anemia resulted in a durable and
functional graft (the former patient is now a healthy 21-year-old man), use
of this type of transplant has grown dramatically, especially in children.
Today, said experts presenting findings from clinical and laboratory studies,
cord blood–derived stem cells are currently being used to treat a variety
of malignancies (such as blood cancers and brain tumors) and rare genetic
diseases and are showing some therapeutic potential for other conditions.
Friedrich M. Growing Role for Umbilical Cord Blood. JAMA. 2004;292(20):2453-2454. doi:10.1001/jama.292.20.2453