A recent study demonstrates how moms and dads may be closer to using their baby’s stored cord blood as a standard treatment in cancers and other diseases.
Expanded Cord Blood Transplantation
Expanding the number of stem cells in the cord blood collections led to faster recovery in adults
Despite promising outcomes, the use of cord blood in an adult transplantation has one major drawback—an extended recovery time of the patient's immune system—because of the low number of cells available per the adult’s body weight. Extended recovery time increases the risk of infection, prolongs hospitalization and uses additional hospital resources. But the worries of prolonged recovery may be coming to an end as we move closer to the standard use of expansion technologies to increase the number of stem cells available in transplantation.
In a recent study of 36 patients, cord blood was expanded using the active agent nicotinamide, which stops the stem cells from turning into immune, blood or other cell types (Read: How Stem Cells Work) and enhances stem cell reproduction. The use of nicotinamide increased the number of stem cells in the cord blood collections by a median of 330% and dramatically decreased the time to recovery by a median of 4 days to 8 days compared to standard therapies, showing how expanded cord blood could become the preferred transplantation method in even adult recipients. As a result, a follow-up phase III trial is working with the Be The Match registry to use publicly donated cord blood units in its adult transplantations.
One study found parents are concerned about the number of times they will be able to utilize their baby’s cord blood collection.
What It Means for Moms and Dads
Expansion technology is the key to greater use of cord blood in transplantations for all family members. Moms and dads and other immediate family members have a greater chance of being a match to their baby's cord blood, and because Cryo-Cell cryo-preserves cord blood in a storage bag with five independent chambers, parents can use just a portion of their baby’s cord blood for a sibling or themselves. By expanding just 1/5 of a child’s stored cord blood, parents can retain the benefits of cord blood, gain a reduced recovery time in their own transplantations and still have cord blood left over for new or additional treatments.