I am a pediatric hematologist and oncologist with extensive experience in the use of cord blood transplants to treat babies, children, and young adults with leukemia, lymphoma, and other cancers and blood diseases.
Umbilical cord blood from healthy newborns is an excellent source of stem cells to rebuild a patient’s immune and blood systems. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we try to present patients and their families with different treatment options, tailored to their individual situations. Cord blood has a number of advantages over blood or bone marrow from an unrelated donor. It is not necessary to find a perfect HLA (tissue type) match, making it particularly attractive for patients of ethnic minorities. Cord blood is more rapidly available, and there is a lower risk of a serious transplant complication called graft-versus-host disease, which occurs when the transplanted cells attack the normal tissues of the recipient’s body.