In 1988, the first cord blood transplant was performed to treat a 5 year old patient with Fanconi’s Anemia, a fatal blood disorder. Since that first successful transplant, 20,000 cord blood transplants have been performed to treat a wide variety of diseases including:
Leukemia, Lymphoma and other Blood Cancers
Bone Marrow Failure Disorders
Inherited Metabolic Disorders
Inherited Immune System Disorders
In the U.S., cord blood has become the most frequent source of stem cells for transplantation in children. Initially, it was thought that cord blood transplants would only be suitable for children, due to the limited number of stem cells present in a unit. The recent development of the technique for double cord transplants, however, has allowed it to be used increasingly in adult patients. A tremendous amount of research is ongoing world-wide, to further increase the utility of cord blood for all patients in need of a stem cell transplant. One of the most promising areas of research is cell expansion technology, whereby the limited number of stem cells in a cord blood unit, are expanded prior to transplantation. Insception Lifebank has developed one such cell expansion product, INSC01, and have FDA approval to test this product in clinical trials.
Along with the ongoing research to improve the utility of cord blood in stem cell transplants, a significant amount of research is being conducted to explore the application of cord blood in the field of regenerative medicine. Currently, there are ongoing clinical studies investigating the value of cord blood in the treatment of brain injury, cerebral palsy, type I diabetes, heart disease and critical limb ischemia. Undoubtedly, as the field of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine grow, so too will the applications of cord blood.