What is Cord Blood Used for in Lymphoma Treatment?

Cord blood is the blood found in the blood vessels of the placenta and the umbilical cord after a woman has given birth to a child. Cord blood is not collected for future use by technicians until after the baby is born and the umbilical cord has been cut.

"[This] procedure is generally safe for the mother and baby," says Keith Wonnacutt PhD, Chief of the Cellular Therapies Branch in FDA's Office of Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies.

Once collected, technicians freeze this blood, and it can remain stored in this way for many years. It is frozen in a process called cryopreservation, which preserves the integrity of the cells.

Cord Blood in Lymphoma Treatment

The US FDA has only approved the use of cord blood for one procedure: The hematopoietc stem cell transplantation (also known as a bone marrow transplant).

Because cord blood is so rich in hematopoietic stem cells (blood-cell forming stem cells), it nicely lends itself to being a source for those donor stem cells in patients with blood cancers undergoing a transplantation. The donor cells help to regenerate and repopulate a patient's blood stem cells within the bone marrow so that they can produce white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in a healthy and normal way.

Cancer patients aren't the only ones who can benefit from cord blood. People with blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome can benefit as well.

To reiterate, cord blood is only approved for this use. People should be very skeptical of claims that cord blood can act as a miracle cure for this ailment or any other ailment, for that matter.

To find more information on registered cord blood banks, check out the FDA's searchable database.

For additional information on cord blood donation and transplantation, check out the Health Resources and Services Administration's page on blood cell transplants.

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