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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2009 Nov;44(10):673-81. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2009.284. Epub 2009 Oct 5.

Ex vivo expansion of cord blood.

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Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA.


A marked increase in the utilization of umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation has been observed in recent years; however, the use of UCB as a hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) source is limited primarily by the number of progenitor cells contained in the graft. Graft failure, delayed engraftment and profound delay in immune reconstitution lead to significant morbidity and mortality in adults. The lack of cells available for post transplant therapies, such as donor lymphocyte infusions, has also been considered to be a disadvantage of UCB. To improve outcomes and extend applicability of UCB transplantation, one potential solution is ex vivo expansion of UCB. Investigators have used several methods, including liquid suspension culture with various cytokines and expansion factors, co-culture with stromal elements and continuous perfusion systems. Techniques combining ex vivo expanded and unmanipulated UCB are being explored to optimize the initial engraftment kinetics as well as the long-term durability. The optimal expansion conditions are still not known; however, recent studies suggest that expanded UCB is safe. It is hoped that by ex vivo expansion of UCB, a resulting decrease in the morbidity and mortality of UCB transplantation will be observed, and that the availability of additional cells may allow adoptive immunotherapy or gene transfer therapies in the UCB setting.

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