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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 572821, 11 pages
Review Article

Insights and Hopes in Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantations

1Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad 381351698, Iran
2Center of Hematology and Hemotherapy (Hemocentro), School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (FCM), University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, 13083-878 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Department of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Fluorotronics, Inc., San Diego, CA 92081, USA
4Hematology Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 14114, Iran
5Cell Therapy Research Institue, 69330 Meyzieu, Lyon, France
6Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran 1411713116, Iran

Received 5 August 2012; Accepted 8 October 2012

Academic Editor: Ali Khraibi

Copyright © 2012 Somayeh Shahrokhi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over 20.000 umblical cord blood transplantations (UCBT) have been carried out around the world. Indeed, UCBT represents an attractive source of donor hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and, offer interesting features (e.g., lower graft-versus-host disease) compared to bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Thereby, UCBT often represents the unique curative option against several blood diseases. Recent advances in the field of UCBT, consisted to develop strategies to expand umbilical stem cells and shorter the timing of their engraftment, subsequently enhancing their availability for enhanced efficacy of transplantation into indicated patients with malignant diseases (e.g., leukemia) or non-malignant diseases (e.g., thalassemia major). Several studies showed that the expansion and homing of UCBSCs depends on specific biological factors and cell types (e.g., cytokines, neuropeptides, co-culture with stromal cells). In this review, we extensively present the advantages and disadvantages of current hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCTs), compared to UBCT. We further describe the importance of cord blood content and obstetric factors on cord blood selection, and report the recent approaches that can be undertook to improve cord blood stem cell expansion as well as engraftment. Eventually, we provide two majors examples underlining the importance of UCBT as a potential cure for blood diseases.