The past 20 years of experience with umbilical cord blood transplantation have demonstrated that cord blood is effective in the treatment of a spectrum of diseases, including hematological malignancies, bone marrow failure, hemoglobinopathies, and inborn errors of metabolism. Cord blood can be obtained with ease and then safely cryopreserved for either public or private use without loss of viability. As compared to other unrelated donor cell sources, cord blood transplantation allows for greater human leukocyte antigen disparity without a corresponding increase in graft-vs.-host disease. Moreover, cord blood has a lower risk of transmitting infections by latent viruses and is less likely to carry somatic mutations than other adult cells. Recently, multiple populations of stem cells with primitive stem cell properties have been identified from cord blood. Meanwhile, there is an increasing interest in applying cord blood mononuclear cells or enriched stem cell populations to regenerative therapies. Accumulating evidence has suggested functional improvements after cord blood transplantation in various animal models for treatments of cardiac infarction, diabetes, neurological diseases, etc. In this review, we will summarize the most recent updates on clinical applications of cord blood transplantation and the promises and limitations of cell-based therapies for tissue repair and regeneration.
Copyright © 2011 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.