The first successful umbilical cord blood stem cell transplantation was performed in 1988 in Paris, France. The patient was a boy with Fanconi anemia, a genetic and potentially life-threatening form of anemia. Meanwhile, umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants have been successfully performed in patients (mostly children) with about 70 diseases. Umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT) has been performed in the clinic for over 30 years.
The umbilical cord of a baby contains blood-forming stem cells, which when transplanted can rebuild the bone marrow and immune system and save the life of a patient with a severe blood disease such as leukaemia, lymphoma or sickle cell disease. The infusion of these cells can also treat patients with inherited genetic disorders, bone marrow failure or inherited immune deficiencies.