Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has become a standard practice to treat a number of malignant and non-malignant hematologic diseases. Bone marrow, mobilized peripheral blood, and umbilical cord blood can all serve as primary sources of cells for HCT. The number of cord blood units currently stored is large, although it represents only a fraction of potential collections. With much of the collection being sequestered in private banks for possible autologous use, there is a reason to expect that public banks may not be able to provide for the demand in coming years as use of cord blood for treatment of patients with diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma continues to increase. We suggest that a possible solution to encourage private banks to share their valuable units is to apply recent methodologies to generate induced pluripotent stem cells from cord cells and to optimize techniques to generate hematopoietic lineages from them. This strategy would allow us to take advantage of the units already collected under appropriate regulatory guidelines, to access a pristine cell that can be converted to a pluripotent cell at a much higher efficiency and in a shorter time period than other cells. The ability to potentially replenish a used cord unit with new cells, as well as extend the potential utility of cord blood for additional therapeutic applications, should allow banks to develop an appropriate business model for both private and public cord blood banks to flourish.
- Bone marrow
- Cord blood
- Hematologic malignancies
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation