Racial diversity with high nucleated cell counts and CD34 counts achieved in a national network of cord blood banks

Karen K. Ballen, Joanne Kurtzberg, Thomas A. Lane, Bruce R Lindgren, John P. Miller, Denis Nagan, Bruce Newman, Neil Rupp, N. Rebecca Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Banked, unrelated, partially HLA-matched, umbilical cord blood is an alternative stem cell source for patients in need of transplantation therapy who lack traditionally matched donors. A presumed advantage of cord blood is the ability to increase recruitment of donors of minority ethnic backgrounds. The American Red Cross Cord Blood Program was established in 1999 with 6 banks and 10 collection sites throughout the country. Cord blood donors self-report racial designations on questionnaires, and donor race was collected from each site. Postprocessing nucleated cell counts and CD34+ counts were obtained on the cord blood units, and results from each racial group (white, black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American) were compared in the natural logarithmic scale by using analysis of variance. A total of 18878 donors consented: 64% white, 16% black, 12% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 1% Native American, and 3% other. The Detroit area consented the highest percentage of black donors (87%), San Diego consented the highest percentage of Hispanic donors (59%), and Oakland consented the highest percentage of Asian donors (15%). Seven thousand eight hundred sixty-six cord blood units have been banked for transplantation. The mean preprocessing nucleated cell count was 1220 × 106 (range, 327-7300 × 106). There was no difference among racial groups when controlled for site (P=.395). The mean CD34+ count was 3.28 × 106. Blacks had a significantly lower CD34+ count than the other racial/ethnic groups in the Midwest, Northwest, and North Carolina collection sites. A racially diverse cord blood bank can be achieved. Nucleated cell counts were similar among the different racial/ethnic groups. CD34+ counts were lower for blacks in some collection sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Cord blood
  • Donor recruitment
  • Minority


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