When first introduced in the 1950s, Stem Cell transplants were performed using a donor’s Bone Marrow. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside our bones where Stem Cells produce the body's blood cells.
In 1988, a second technique was developed where drugs induce the release of the stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood stream where they are then collected. These are then used Peripheral Blood Stem Cell transplants (PBSC).
The came another breakthrough in medical science and Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplants began to be employed.
Since 2000 the global use of Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplants has risen rapidly.
As an example, in 2004 only around 16% of all child transplants in the USA were sourced from Cord Blood; by 2009 this had soared dramatically to almost 50%.
In 2004 Cord Blood was used for less than 5% of adult transplants; by 2009 it was up to over 20%. In addition there is also a growing trend to treat older patients with stem cell transplants, and these are increasingly also being sourced from Cord Blood units from public banks.
ADVANTAGES OF CORD BLOOD STEM CELL TRANSPLANTS
The genetic fingerprint of minority peoples such as the Semites (Jews and Arabs) is often under-represented in international registers, making it hard to find a matching donor. For many specific ethnic groups within those peoples - such as Jews of Tunisian, Yemenite, Indian or other ethnic origin - the situation can be even more extreme. Cord blood from the birth of children from these ethnic communities offers a highly effective alternative.
In addition, today’s inter-ethnic marriages are giving rise to a new generation of genetic fingerprints. Cord blood from the birth of children from these marriages are immediately available for patients from earlier inter-ethnic marriages, without the need to wait until a child reaches the age of 18 and offers themselves as a potential bone marrow donor.
Immediate Off-the-Shelf Availability
- Simple, painless & risk-free collection direct from hospital maternity wards
- Endless supply, easy storage, always available for immediate use
- The full genetic data of each Cord Blood Unit is available on-line in the global registers of public cord blood banks, unlike potential Bone Marrow donor data which is only partial and needs more precious time to fully test.
- Eliminates the need to locate potential Bone Marrow donors who may have moved, developed disease or even died since registering, or now refuse to donate.
Multiple Medical Advantages
- Greater Flexibility in Genetic Matching - only partial match required (4:6 HLA)
- Optimum Solution for Minority / Minimally Represented Ethnic Groups
- Optimum Solution for Patients in Rare Tissue Brackets
- Increased Possibility of Successful Transplant in Early Stages of Illness
- Reduced Risk of Graft Vs Host Disease (GVHD)