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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Placenta and umbilical cord

Sources of Hematopoietic Stem Cells: Umbilical Cord Blood

Umbilical cord blood (UCB) has gained popularity as a source of HSCs for pediatric patients. UCB has a large number of progenitor cells and sufficient HSCs for transplantation in patients who weigh less than 40 kg (88 pounds). However, the limited number of cells available per unit collected makes UCB the least common source of HSCs.
These HSCs are naïve in their immunologic function, resulting in a lower incidence of GVHD in transplanted patients. UCB can be collected before birth or more commonly after birth. Up to 150 mL of cord blood can be collected from the placenta and umbilical cord via the umbilical vein using a syringe and allowing the cord blood to drain by gravity. Samples are tested for infectious diseases, HLA type, and CD34 count, then cryopreserved with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). A major disadvantage of UCB as a transplant source is the donor cannot make a second donation.
A listing of the cord blood banks accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) can be found at the following website: http://www.aabb.org/sa/facilities/celltherapy/Pages/CordBloodAccrFac.aspx.