“For stem cell transplants, often there is some urgency, and finding a suitable peripheral blood or bone marrow donor can take a while. The advantage of cord blood is that these cells are typed and cryopreserved, so access to them could be faster.”
In a patient with acute myeloid leukemia in second remission, where time may be important, “it would be appropriate to do a cord blood transplant,” added Dr. Keating, who is also a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.
Among some physicians, he said, “there may be a perception that using cord blood for stem cell transplants is riskier than peripheral blood or bone marrow sources. Certainly, the immunologic recovery is slowest with cord blood, and patients could thus be more susceptible to infection. But in terms of transplant-related mortality, cord blood is roughly the same when compared with peripheral blood or bone marrow sources.”