For certain patients, the use of donor cord blood stem cells instead of donor stem cells from peripheral blood or donor stem cells from bone marrow may provide benefits. Some potential benefits include:
- Availability. Umbilical cord blood stored in a public umbilical cord blood bank has already been pre-examined, tested and frozen and is immediately ready for use.
- Agreement of human leukocyte antigens (HLA). The results of stem cell transplants from related and unrelated donors are strongly influenced by the degree of HLA-Match between the transplant recipient and the donor cord blood. HLA match plays an important role in successful transplantation, severity of graft versus host disease (GVHD), and overall survival. Close agreement between the patient and the umbilical cord blood unit can improve the patient’s outcome after transplantation. Although a closely matched umbilical cord blood unit is preferred, clinical studies suggest that the match does not need to be as close as with bone marrow or peripheral blood transplantation.