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Cytotherapy. 2005;7(3):209-18.

Biology of cord blood cells and future prospects for enhanced clinical benefit.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Walther Oncology Center, Indiana univrsity School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Cord blood (CB) has served as a clinically beneficial source of hematopoietic stem (HSC) and progenitor (HPC) cells for transplantation and correction of a large number of malignant and non-malignant disorders. The capacity of CB to perform these functions is intimately related to the quality and quantity of HSC and HPC present in CB. This review covers the biology of HSC and HPC, efforts to expand these cells ex vivo for enhanced clinical utility that has thus far not been very successful, and recent studies on attempts to enhance the homing and engrafting capability of HSC as an alternative means for more effective use of the limited numbers of CB cells collected. This review also highlights the presence in CB of mesenchymal stem cells, unrestricted somatic stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells and immune cells. The presence and biology of these non-HSC/HPC may open up future possibilities for additional clinical benefit of CB, a product considered mainly for discard before its clinical transplantation potential was realized in the late 1980s.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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