Cord blood transplantation: rewind to fast forward
The utilization of cord blood as a source of stem cells for transplantation has decreased in recent years. Although cord blood transplantation (CBT) is an established practice for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with hematological malignancies, the high acquisition cost of CB units along with high transplant-related mortality due to delayed hematopoietic recovery and immune reconstitution have contributed to the slowing in widespread adoption of CBT. Strategies aimed to enhance speed of engraftment and ongoing clinical trials are investigating ways to make CBT more widely available. Meanwhile, the recent clinical data suggest that the choice of CBT might be preferable for patients with pre-transplant minimal residual disease. We review here the background data on the utilization of CB for the treatment of hematological malignancies, and discuss the current challenges and future directions in the field of CBT.