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Growing number of cord blood stem cell transplants worldwide

To the more than 50,000 transplants performed and reported worldwide through the use of umbilical cord blood must be added 34,133 performed in China alone (source: Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation), bringing the total number to 85,000. However, it must be specified that several bags are often used in China for the same transplant using both allogeneic and autologous umbilical cord stem cells and adult spinal cord.

Cord Blood Releases for Therapy

In total, the numbers in this table add up to 34,133 cord blood therapy releases. This is not equivalent to the number of cord blood “transplants”. In a traditional cord blood transplant, the patient receives myeloablative chemotherapy and then has their immune system regenerated with cord blood alone. In China, stem cell transplants for malignancies often combine different types of graft sources, such as cord blood together with bone marrow, or a combination of autologous and allogeneic cord blood. Many releases from Chinese banks are sibling transplants for non-malignant hemoglobinopathies. Plus, in China both autologous and allogeneic CBU are often released for clinical trials of regenerative medicine applications, such as osteoarthritis, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.

During the year 2020, six cord blood banks in China cumulatively released 4907 CBU for therapy, based on statements found in the news category of their websites. By comparison, the 2020 annual report from WMDA claimed that 1670 cord blood transplants had been supplied by banks in the entire continent of Asia, which includes all Asian countries as well as the geographic region that many consider the Middle East. The Chinese medical community holds an annual national cord blood conference. At their 10th conference held 19-21 May 2023, it was announced: “It is understood that the application of umbilical cord blood has exceeded 85,000 cases worldwide, and the number of applications of umbilical cord blood in China has exceeded 30,000.” This statement was made by Professor Fang Jianpei, Chairman of the Cord Blood Application Committee of Guangdong Maternal and Child Health Care Association and Chief Physician of Pediatrics at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University.

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