Penn Study Points to Novel Way to Improve Outcomes from Umbilical Cord Blood Transplants


December 12, 2011

Penn Medicine News Release

A new method to boost the number of immune cells in umbilical cord blood prior to cord blood transplants for cancer patients appears to lead to a quicker rebuilding of a new immune system in the patient’s body than with a conventional cord blood transplant procedure, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that was presented at the 53rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting. The technique also paves the way for the development of a way to provide these transplant patients with a salvage therapy from the same donor if their cancer returns. “Umbilical cord blood is a potential cancer therapy that is thrown away every day,” said lead author Elizabeth Hexner, MD, an assistant professor in the division of Hematology-Oncology in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “Our findings point to a promising method to make better use of scarce cord blood resources available through public banks, which offer the only transplant option for patients who have no suitably matched blood or bone marrow donor prospects.” Read More