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There are many advantages to using stem cells from umbilical cord blood than stem cells from bone marrow.
- Obtaining a cord blood sample is painless unlike bone marrow sampling which requires the insertion of a needle into the bone to harvest the marrow.
- Cord blood has less rejection because there does not need to be a perfect HLA match. This means that instead of a perfect 6 of 6 match (as required in bone marrow sampling), cord blood only requires a 3 of 6 match when using a related sample or 4 of 6 match when using an unrelated sample.
- Graft-verses-host-disease occurs when the donor's immune cells recognize the transplant recipient's cells as "foreign" and attack the recipient's body. This occurs in approximately 60% of bone marrow transplants verses approximately 10% of cord blood transplants.
- Cord blood sampling takes approximately 5 minutes (usually less) to collect, whereas bone marrow sampling takes 1-2 hours.
- Cord blood stem cells are readily available.
- Cord blood has less pathogens (virus, bacteria, etc) than bone marrow.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST