First public cord blood bank & unrelated transplants from the bank


In 1992 the NY Blood Center (NYBC) established the world's first public bank of cord blood donations. The very first cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor was performed in 1993.

For many years, all cord blood transplants came from NYBC, and they are still the world's largest public bank. Their 2013 inventory is near 60 thousand, roughly twice the size the next largest public banks.

If you read the articles below, reporting on the initial groups of pediatric patients receiving unrelated transplants, you will notice that initially "cord blood" was called "placental blood".

The 1997 paper from Dr. Gluckman is a classic. It reports on 143 patients who received transplants from 1988 to 1996 at 45 medical centers. They found that transplants from related donors had much better one-year survival than with unrelated donors, at 63% versus 29%. Family cord blood banks love to quote this 1997 paper. However, there is much more accurate data available nowadays on this subject: read here.


  1. Rubinstein, P. etal. 1993 Blood 81:1679-1690 Stored placental blood for unrelated bone marrow reconstitution (article)
  2. Kurtzberg, J. etal. 1996 NEJM 335:157-166 Placental blood as a source of hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation into unrelated recipients. (article)
  3. Gluckman, E. et al. 1997 NEJM 337(6):373-381 Outcome of cord-blood transplantation from related and unrelated donors (article)

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