Cord Blood Stem Cells Vs Other Stem Cells
While there are different sources of stem cells, there are some drawbacks and benefits to each type of source you derive the stem cells from. Cord blood-derived cells demand the least invasive procedure to obtain them and they provide the most highly adaptable hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).
Bone marrow (BM) has been the gold standard for deriving stem cells and it is the most widely used. Also, doctors are pretty experienced to provide transplants using stem cells obtained from bone marrow, however, the MB-derived stem cells tend to be much older compared to those you find in cord blood. Again, MB- stem cells may already have diseases. The procedure for performing MB transplants involves a painful surgery and it may take several weeks for an individual to recover.1
Peripheral or bloodstream stem cells collection is also considered a less invasive procedure when compared to BM stem cells extraction and doctors may get twice the amount of stem cells.
Nonetheless, there is a higher possibility of having graft-versus-host disease when a peripheral blood cell transplant is performed compared to the cord blood cell transplant or bone marrow cell transplant.1
Having said that, here are other comparison features of cord blood-derived cells to MB and peripheral stem cells:
- Donating bone marrow (BM) requires the doctor to perform surgery under anesthesia. The donor may experience pain or discomfort though temporary. In peripheral blood (PB) donation there is uncertainty on the long term consequences that may be brought about by the growth factors and chemo drugs that are used to induce bone marrow cells to move to the peripheral blood for collection. With cord blood, obtaining stem cells is done at time of delivery and no risks are posed to the infant or the mother.2
- For a successful transplant to be achieved using BM stem cells, a donation of two pints or a quart or more of BM, combined with blood is needed. For cord blood cell transplants, small volumes, let’s say a few ounces can be used, however, the cell amount depends largely on the weight of the recipient.2
- BM and PB grafts have huge amounts of stem cells meaning nuetrophil engraftment takes place rapidly, and this is an advantage over cord blood grafts. In cord blood transplants, because the units have lesser amounts of stem cells, there is slow engraftment that results in prolonged hospital stays with possibility of having serious complications.2
- In BM and PB cell transplants, once a search commences for a matching donor, it can take more than 2 months for the transplant to be done, that’s if the donor is already available. If there is no availability of a donor, it can take more time. However, with cord blood transplants, after a match has been found, it requires only a few days to allow special testing and confirmation before shipping. In less than 24hrs, the unit could be available for the transplant.2
- BM and PB cells used for transplants don’t present a risk of passing a genetic disease but with cord blood cells, there is little possibility that some rare, undetected genetic disease may be passed on to the recipient.2
- Incidents of graft vs. host disease (GvHD) tend to be common whenever there is a mismatched graft involving BM and PB cells. On the other hand, it is less frequent to have GvHD in cord blood because finding a match is a lot easier, and even where the match isn’t perfect, the GvHD may not be as serious as the case of bone marrow and peripheral cell transplants. It is also easier to treat the disease if it occurs in the case of cord blood transplants. 2
- Transplants using BM and PB stem cells require a perfect match to be found between the donor and the patient. The PB match is for 8/8 antigens or HLA factors and for bone marrow, it is 6/6 antigens. However, with cord blood transplants, it is possible to perform a transplant even when there is HLA-mismatch, for example a 3/6 antigen match. This means recipients can tolerate HLA disparity, but all in all, still there is a risk of having complications or even early death. 3,4
Comparison of sources of stem cells
Advantages & Disadvantages of Embryonic & Umbilical Cord stem cells
Cord Blood Vs Bone Marrow Stem cell progeny
Even with the many benefits attached to cord blood stem cells transplants over bone marrow and peripheral cells, it is important to note that just like any other unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, cord blood transplants can come with serious complications and organ toxicity that can even result in death of a patient. Banking cord blood is highly recommended especially for public use because it helps provide more accessibility to stem cells for treatment of genetic disorders like blood cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Keywords: sources of stem cells; cord blood; cord blood transplants; cord blood cells; cord blood stem cells, banking cord blood
- What is Cord Blood? Comparing Cord Blood To Other Stem Cell Sources. https://www.cordbloodbanking.com/cord-blood/
- Comparison Between Bone Marrow or Peripheral Blood Stem Cells and Cord Blood Donated for Transplantation. http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/qa/comparison.html
- Stem cell comparison: what can we learn clinically from unrelated cord blood transplantation as an alternative stem cell source? https://www.celltherapyjournal.org/article/S1465-3249(15)00087-0/pdf
- Cord Blood Stem Cells: An Overview. https://cbhd.org/content/cord-blood-stem-cells-overview