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New Research Shows Hope for Cancer Patients

Oct 12, 2016 1:00:52 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD


Human cord blood cells increase survival rates for patients that have leukemia.For cancers such as leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), chemotherapy followed by stem-cell transplantation to repopulate with healthy cells is the treatment of choice. There are various sources of stem cells including bone marrow, circulating blood, and umbilical cord blood. Researchers reviewed hundreds of cases of leukemia as well as other blood disorders. They found that those patients who received stem cells from human cord blood, had survival rates that were similar to or higher than those who received other types of stem cell transplants.

In addition to having higher survival rates, the risk of disease relapse was lower in those who received human cord blood. When there were mismatches in donated cord blood, the death rate was lower than for mismatches with other types of donor tissue. This is important because finding donors for blood and marrow transplants can be very difficult, especially for members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Data from the National Marrow Donor Program show that 97% of white patients are likely to have a match, while only 66% of African American, 72% of Asian, 77% of Native American, and 80% of Hispanic patients will have matches.

Based on published statistics, only about 30% of patients with leukemia will be matched to donors who are human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical siblings. However, it is much easier to match patients to human cord blood donors. In fact, human cord blood transplantation does not require as strict a match as other types of transplantation. This, and the higher safety of cord blood transplantation, increases the options for patients with leukemia. In one case, a patient who could not find a match for marrow or blood cells (family or otherwise) received two human cord blood transplants and started making her own blood cells (including platelet) within four weeks. After two years she is still in remission.

Are you interested in human cord blood for research? At HemaCare, we offer a variety of products for your researching needs. Please call (877) 397-3087 for more information!

Aleccia, J. (2016). Cord-blood transplants could be new answer for cancer patients. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 5 October 2016, from

Topics: Bone Marrow, Cancer, Cord Blood

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