Research and Clinical Uses

The first cord blood transplant was performed in 1988 to treat a case of Fanconi anemia [1].  The donor was the patient's HLA-identical sister who was known by pre-natal diagnosis to be HLA identical and not affected by the Fanconi mutation.  The donor's cord blood was collected and cryopreserved at birth.  In a medical paper published in 2005, the researchers tracked the status of this patient and reported:

The transplant was successful without graft-versus-host diseases and the patient is currently alive and free of disease more than 15 years after transplant, with full hematologic and immunologic donor reconstitution [2].

Since 1988, over 6,000 cord blood transplants had been successfully performed worldwide according to a medical journal [3].  Statistics posted on Netcord recently (March 2007) recorded a total of 5,452 cord blood transplants being performed successfully in an almost 50:50 ratio on adults and children using its inventory [4].

[1] E Gluckman and V Rocha (2005) “History of the clinical use of umbilical cord blood haematopoietic cells”, Cytotherapy Vol 7 No 3.
[2] Ibid.
[3] G. N. Samuel & I. H. Kerridge (2007), “Equity, Utility, and the Marketplace: Emerging Ethical Issues of Umbilical Cord Blood Banking in Australia”, Biotechnical Inquiry, published online 3 March 2007, (accessed 13 June 2007)
[4] “Netcord Inventory and Use March 2007” https://www.netcord.org/inventory.html, (accessed 13 June 2007).