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Welcome to the New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program Website - an interactive, informational resource for patients, their families and caregivers, health care professionals, expectant parents and the general public.

NYBC's Milstein National Cord Blood Center (supported by the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation) and its National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) is the world's oldest and remains the largest single public cord blood bank. We collect, process, test and store cord blood that mothers donate to us for use by patient in need for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Our Program makes cord blood available under an Investigational New Drug (IND) exemption from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for children and adults who face a life-threatening illness and need "stem cell" transplants from unrelated donors. NYBC's NCBP was also the first public cord blood bank in the world to receive NetCord-FACT accreditation (June 2003). Click here for more information on NetCord-FACT accreditation.

NCBP obtained its IND exemption from the FDA in 1996, the first cord blood bank to do so. To qualify for the IND, we submitted our policies and protocols to the FDA and have provided annual reports on our Program and on the results of transplants using cord blood units from our bank. FDA has since issued several guidance documents to clarify the requirements for cord blood banks to become licensed.

Cord blood is a "biological" product and, pending FDA licensure, the proper context for cord blood banking and for using cord blood in treating patients, is under an FDA IND exemption. This is because, from a regulatory viewpoint, cord blood is still an experimental source of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells.

From the regulatory perspective, the donors of cord blood (the mothers who donate their newborn's cord blood) and the patients who receive cord blood transplants are "human research subjects" under FDA and Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP). For this reason, we collect cord blood following protocols, policies and procedures submitted to the FDA and formally accepted by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the New York Blood Center as well as by the IRB of each of the hospitals that collaborate with us as a collection center.

To date, cord blood donations from more than 53,000 mothers have been made to the NYBC's National Cord Blood Program. Our donors come from all ethnic backgrounds. For example, approximately 18% of the donors are African-American (having at least one African-American parent), while 11% have two African-American parents. Additionally, Asians represent approximately 10% of all donors and multi-race donors make up 13-15%. Donors of Hispanic ancestry range between 20-22%. This ethnic diversity has made it possible for patients of different ethnic backgrounds to find suitable matches, thereby improving access to hematopoietic transplantation. [See: Why is cord blood important for ethnic minorities?].

Although cord blood is an investigational product, not licensed by FDA, it has been used (as an alternative to bone marrow) as a source of hematopoietic stem cells for several years. There have been over 15,000 cord blood transplants worldwide through 2009. In the United States, more than one half of all stem cell transplants from unrelated donors in children now use cord blood. In Japan, this is true for adults as well. Our program has provided cord blood units for transplantation to over 3,500 recipients to date, about one fourth of all cord blood transplants from unrelated donors. Most patients were affected by leukemia, lymphoma, severe aplastic anemia, other lethal diseases of the blood or immune system or certain inherited metabolic diseases [See: Patients & Outcomes for a listing of all diseases treated thus far].

When considering a transplant, the transplant physician is responsible for assessing whether his/her patient needs a hematopoietic stem cell transplant and if so, for deciding on the most appropriate source of those stem cells—cord blood, bone marrow or mobilized stem cells. When matching cord blood units from our bank are being considered for a transplant, we work with the transplant physician to help select the most appropriate unit (based, in part, on what we have learned from the reports transplant centers send to us on their patients who have already received cord blood units from our Program). The physician, however, makes the final decision with the patient or, in the case of a minor, with the family.

This Website attempts to provide accurate and timely information about cord blood transplants and public donations, as well as about technical aspects of our Program's operations. Patients and families considering a possible transplant must be told that cord blood is an investigational product, not yet licensed by FDA. They can read about the potential advantages and disadvantages of cord blood transplantation in Cord Blood Q&A and in a Comparison between Bone Marrow & Cord Blood. Encouraging Patient Stories can be found in the Patients & Outcomes section. Website visitors can find out how the NCBP works in Program Overview. More technical information about cord blood collection and processing can be found in NCBP at Work.

Expectant parents can get useful information about donation from Cord Blood Donation. You can keep current with News & Articles. You can use the new SiteMap to help navigate the site.

One of the features originated by the NCBP website is our Public Cord Blood Search program which allows anyone the on-line opportunity to obtain an "informal" preliminary count of possible matching CB units in the NCBP inventory at the same time of search. See the "Public NCBP Cord Blood Search" link at the top of this homepage. Detailed instructions will help guide you through the process.

Note: The NCBP Website was launched on October 1, 2004. The NCBP Website was last updated on: 6/16/10.

Dr. Pablo Rubinstein with Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at a reunion of cord blood transplant recipients.

Jaclyn Albanese and Stephen Sprague
(NCBP transplant recipients), in April 2010, with Dr. Pablo Rubinstein



Click here for the full text of the "Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005" (Public Law 109-129--December 20, 2005).


The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is awarding funds to public cord blood banks selected to perform collections for a new National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI). The New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program has participated in this Program from its inception.

NCBP has now become the first public cord blood bank to automate the processing, cryopreservation and storage of cord blood stem cell units.

The new AXP system technology can significantly enhance cell viability after thawing—a critical benefit for patients requiring a cord blood stem cell transplant. Click here to see why this improvement may be so important to both transplant patients and to the transplant centers searching for appropriately matched CB units.

(an RN-led website for nursing professionals) feature article "Banking on Cord Blood" about NCBP's collection center. Click here to read about the cord blood donation program at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center.

The 10,000,000th STEM CELL DONOR:
In November, 2005, the ten millionth stem cell donor registered in Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide was celebrated, including some 200,000 donated cord blood units. Currently, the number exceeds 14 million with some 400,000 cord blood units. Click here to read what this encouraging news means for patients searching for a stem cell match for transplant and about the role of cord blood.

The November 25, 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contained two articles on cord blood transplantation in adults, a review of cord blood banking issues and an editorial on cord blood transplantation in adults. The two research reports compared unrelated cord blood and bone marrow transplantation in a combined total of more than 1,200 adult patients. Abstracts of those reports can be found on our news and articles section of this website in NCBP Scientific Publications.

The NEJM editorial of the same issue addressed "Cord Blood Transplantation in Patients with Leukemia – A Real Alternative for Adults". Click here to read the editorial. A brief explanation of what these studies mean for adult patients can be found in patients and outcomes.

The June 9, 2007 issue of Lancet, [Lancet 369 (9577), 1947-1954, 2007] included a study comparing the outcomes of children less than 16 years old, treated for acute leukemia with either cord blood (number: 503) or allele-matched bone marrow transplants (number: 282). The leukemia-free survival of the allele-matched bone marrow was similar five years after the transplantation to those of 1 or 2 antigen mismatched cord blood.

In its November 24, 2009 issue, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a report from Dutch and NCBP investigators that studied the results of HLA mismatches in children and adults with blood malignancies. They encountered evidence that patient HLA mismatches, identical to HLA antigens present in the donor's mother but not inherited by the donor (NIMA, non-inherited maternal antigens), were tolerated significantly better than mismatches that did not correspond to the donor's NIMA. The donor NIMA effect included a lower incidence of relapse. This means that selecting the mismatched cord blood grafts according to the donor's NIMA type may considerably improve the outcome by overcoming the negative effects of the mismatches.

The June 16, 2010 issue of Lancet Oncology> included a study comparing BM, PB and single unit CB grafts in adult patients with leukemia transplanted during the period 2002-2006. The results showed that the leukemia-free survival in patients after CB transplantation was similar to that of patients receiving 7/8 and 8/8 PB or BM grafts. However transplant related mortality was higher.

Disclaimer. The results presented here are abbreviated from those reported in peer-reviewed medical Journals and represent the medical and scientific opinions of their authors. They were published after acceptance by reviewers chosen by the respective Editorial Boards of the Journals.