Researchers find that cord blood T cells are more efficient in killing cancer cells than T cells from peripheral blood.
It is a common practice now for obstetricians to provide expectant mothers with information on cord blood banking. New evidence is emerging every day that cord blood possesses many superior qualities. Even after being done with its main job of nourishing a baby, it is found by scientists to help in many diseases, particularly cancer therapy.
Banking cord blood is performed after childbirth from the umbilical cord and placenta. It is then frozen and stored in banks for future use. It is most commonly used in treating children with various cancers, such as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and other non-cancer related diseases such as aplastic anemia. The main advantage of a cord blood transplant over peripheral blood or stem cell transfer is the lower risk of rejection or graft versus host disease. In addition, it has less capacity to transfer infectious diseases; it has been tested, screened, HLA typed, and is readily available.1
A recent study published in the Blood journal shows that T cells from cord blood have superior functions compared to those from peripheral blood. Using a mouse model of B cell lymphoma, researchers at the University College London Institute compared the effect of transplant of cord versus peripheral blood T cells on the tumor size and survival of the mice. First, they find that cord blood T cells had superior anti-tumor properties. The transferred cells not only reduced the tumor size, but also increased the survival rate of the mice. This was due to an increase of accumulation of T cells in the tumor with a bias towards higher percentage of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. These CD8+ T cells produced more inflammatory cytokines and had better killing properties than those that came from peripheral blood.2
While there are limitations of testing this out in cancer patients without further studies, this work provides interesting insights on cord blood research. Here at HemaCare, we provide human cord blood samples that can be used to study and understand its therapeutic potential for cancer patients and the mechanisms by which it can be more protective. Contact us by phone at (877) 397-3087 for further information, or to place an order.
2 Hiwarkar et al. (2015) Cord blood T cells mediate enhanced antitumor effects compared with adult peripheral blood T cells. Blood 126 (29). doi 10.1182/blood-2015-06-654780.