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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2010 Jan;32(1):58-61. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(16)34406-1.

Use of umbilical cord blood for stem cell research.

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Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal QC.


Umbilical cord blood (UCB), long treated as waste material, is today considered a valuable source of hematopoietic stem cells. UCB is used, mostly in children, for the treatment of blood malignancies and inherited blood and metabolic disorders. In addition to blood precursor cells, UCB also contains stem cells that can differentiate into other types, such as cartilage, fat, hepatic, cardiac, and neural cells, fuelling speculation about the use of cord blood stem cells for regenerative medicine. Further research is therefore needed to investigate the expanded potential of UCB and its therapeutic use in cell and tissue therapies. According to a recent survey, practices for the procurement of UCB for research vary widely across Canada, so this area may not yet be ready for uniform regulation. However, some harmonization of practices to increase the availability of UCB for research would be useful for Canadian investigators. In this article, we address several important ethical and legal issues relating to the use of UCB in research and recommend guidelines to serve as a source of useful information for researchers. While their legal acceptability may vary across Canada, it is hoped that these recommendations foster more harmonized UCB research practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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