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Cytotherapy. 2005;7(3):243-50.

Ex vivo expansion of umbilical cord blood.

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University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The efficacy of cord blood (CB) transplantation is limited by the low cell dose available. Low cell doses at transplant are correlated with delayed engraftment, prolonged neutropenia and thrombocytopenia and elevated risk of graft failure. To potentially improve the efficacy of CB transplantation, approaches have been taken to increase the cell dose available. One approach is the transplantation of multiple cord units, another the use of ex vivo expansion. Evidence for a functional and phenotypic heterogeneity exists within the HSC population and one concern associated with ex vivo expansion is that the expansion of lower 'quality' hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) occurs at the expense of higher 'quality' HPC, thereby impacting the reserve of the graft. There is evidence that this is a valid concern while other evidence suggests that higher quality HPC are preserved and not exhausted. Currently, ex vivo expansion processes include: (1) liquid expansion: CD34+ or CD133+ cells are selected and cultured in medium containing factors targeting the proliferation and self-renewal of primitive hematopoietic progenitors; (2) co-culture expansion: unmanipulated CB cells are cultured with stromal components of the hematopoietic microenvironment, specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), in medium containing growth factors; and (3) continuous perfusion: CB HPC are cultured with growth factors in 'bioreactors' rather than in static cultures. These approaches are discussed. Ultimately, the goal of ex vivo expansion is to increase the available dose of the CB cells responsible for successful engraftment, thereby reducing the time to engraftment and reducing the risk of graft failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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