The Stem Cell retrieved from the Umbilical cord blood are increasingly being used for stem cell transplants in adult patients, since there is less risk of developing GVHD (graft versus host disease) infection. This means that there are less chances of getting infection from the donor's during infusion. There are more chances of getting GVHD or other infections from the donor when stem cells are retrieved from other sources like Peripheral blood or Bone Marrow. These days more and more Doctors are highlighting on usage of UCBT or Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant as compared to traditional methods.
The first experiment on UCBT was done almost three decades back on a young 15-16 year old boy who was suffering from acute "Lymphoblastic Leukemia". He was given a transplant in which the stem cells were taken from around 10 different donors. The transplant was a huge success and the boy got a new life. This is called an Allogeneic stem cell transplant in which the recipient receives UCBT from different donors. Since then Cord Blood has been regarded as an alternative source for stem cells for transplant in children.
Collecting Stem Cells from the cord blood has several advantages
1) It is very easily available.
2) Absolutely safe and secure method of collection and storage of Blood with no harm either to the donor or the receiver.
3) There are reduced chances of catching infection from the donor's blood.
4) Lesser chances of GVHD
5) Lesser complications related to HLA matching
These days there are various provisions for the availability of UCB. The cord blood is easily available from a Public or a Private cord blood bank. A public bank caters to the requirements of all the patients irrespective of any discrimination, moreover the units are available free of cost whereas a private bank stores the cord blood on request by the patient and preserves it for their future on the payment of a certain amount of fees as collection and storage charges.
The Cord Blood Transplants had been successfully performed on children but quite a few trials on adults have proved that they are equally good for adults too. So the use of UCB as an alternative source of hematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic transplantation for adult patients is being highly recommended these days.