Why is cord blood (and not bone marrow) the object of growing interest among medical doctors and researchers?

The donor - recipient match of bone marrow is extremely difficult because, in general, a perfect match is required. Cord stem cells are valued for their immunological immaturity which in turn results in a reduced amount of complications for the recipient (for allogeneic transplantation this means a less pronounced risk of rejection and ‘graft versus host disease’ expression). They can be used even if not fully compatible. This means that cord blood storage maximises the chances of a positive transplantation outcome among family members. A number of research studies indicate that the survival rate among related donors is nearly two times higher as opposed to unrelated donors, as a result of cord blood transplantation. Other reasons why cord blood is superior to bone marrow in transplantology:

  • Immediate stem cell availability in case of emergency – they are harvested and stored prior to their use
  • Reduced probability of ‘graft vs host disease’ incidence (Graft versus Host Disease, GvHD).