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Medical News & Perspectives
May 18, 2005

Cord Blood Stem Cell Network Proposed

JAMA. 2005;293(19):2332. doi:10.1001/jama.293.19.2332

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has called for a national network of cord blood stem cell banks that could ultimately provide transplantable hematopoietic progenitor cells for most patients who would benefit from such transplants.

In a report released April 14 that had been requested by the US Congress last year, the IOM suggested that the Department of Health and Human Services establish a National Cord Blood Policy Board to create rules for donation, collection, and use of cord blood, which is now routinely discarded. Cord blood is a good source of hematopoietic progenitor cells that give rise to a variety of blood cells, which have been transplanted in patients with such hematologic diseases as leukemia, lymphoma, or sickle cell anemia. It is now considered superior to bone marrow as a source of transplantable stem cells for allogeneic transplants because its progenitor cells have a lower rejection rate than those derived from bone marrow.