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Dr. Milton Ende and Dr. Norman Ende

Doctors Milton and Norman Ende pioneered the first published case of cord blood as cancer therapy. The Ende brothers are often overlooked in official histories of cord blood transplantation because they did not use immune suppression before treating patients with cord blood, yet their publications demonstrated transient efficacy of cord blood alone. ref
October 1988

Matthew Farrow in July 2013

Matthew Farrow, then a 5 year old boy with Fanconi anemia, received the world's first cord blood transplant. The pioneering medical event was an international effort: Matthew came from North Carolina USA, his donor was his newborn baby sister, the American scientist who stored the cord blood was Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, and the transplant was performed at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris, where his French physician was Dr. Eliane Gluckman. ref1, PGCB
May 1989

Dr. Edward A. Boyse

A team led by Dr. Edward A. Boyse, including Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that it was feasible to collect umbilical cord blood from birth, ship it to a lab, and cryopreserve it for later therapy. Dr. Boyce was a pioneer in immunology. ref1, ref2
September 1989

Natalie Curry (in memoriam 8/30/2012)

Natalie Curry also received one of the very first cord blood transplants with Dr. Gluckman, and went on to become a vocal advocate for cord blood education. Natalie's sister Emily was her cord blood donor, and later when Emily turned age 18 she also donated a kidney to Natalie. ref
January 1992

Dr. Pablo Rubinstein in 2005

Dr. Pablo Rubinstein spearheaded the founding of the world's first and largest public cord blood bank at the NY Blood Center. Dr. Rubinstein is also credited with pioneering methods of cord blood collection and storage that became industry standards.  ref1, ref2

Mitch Santa (image courtesy NYBC)

Mitch Santa became the first person to receive a cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor when he was less than 2 years old. He was cured of acute leukemia thanks to an anonymous baby whose cord blood had been donated to the NY Blood Center in its first year of operation. Dr. Kurtzberg performed the transplant at Duke Medical Center. ref
February 1995

Dr. Mary Laughlin

Dr. Mary Laughlin performed the world's first cord blood transplant for an adult leukemia patient. She was then at Duke Medical Center, but went on to found transplant programs at the Cleveland Cord Blood Center and the University of Virginia. ref
August 1996

Dr. Mitchell Cairo

Dr. Mitchell Cairo and Dr. John Wagner led the first demonstration that long term patient survival is comparable with cord blood transplants and bone marrow transplants. Numerous researchers have reinforced this conclusion over the years, both for children and adult patients. ref1, ref2
November 1997

Stephen Sprague

Stephen Sprague was the first adult to receive an "expanded" cord blood transplant where the cells were first grown in the lab before infusion. He was treated for CML leukemia in blast crisis by Dr. Andrew Pecora at the Hackensack Medical Center. ref
June 1998

Frances and Shai Verter, Sept. 1994

Dr. Frances Verter founded the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood website in memory of her daughter Shai. PGCB
December 1998

Keone Penn (in memoriam 6/20/2013)

Keone Penn was the first person cured of sickle cell disease by a cord blood transplant. As a child, he had endured a stroke and frequent episodes of pain before the transplant at Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta. Dr. Andrew Yaeger found a matching cord blood donor for Keone in the NY Blood Center public bank. ref
April 2001

Jesse Farquharson

Shortly after he was born, Jesse was diagnosed with eye cancer that had invaded both eyes and his spinal fluid. His treatment at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, culminated with the infusion of his own cord blood that had been stored with Insception Lifebank. Jesse was one of the first children who were saved because their parents had banked their cord blood privately. ref
September 2002

Dr. John Wagner

Dr. John Wagner published a key study in the journal Blood that analyzed the influence of stem cell dose and degree of donor-patient match on the outcome of cord blood transplants. There have been many subsequent papers analyzing this topic. ref
April 2004

Andrej of Slovakia

Andrej was 6 months old when he became the first child to receive a transplant of his own cord blood to cure a malignant brain tumor called medulloblastoma. His cord blood had been stored with Eurocord-Slovakia, a partner of Cord Blood Center. The treatment took place at the University Children's Hospital in Bratislavia, Slovakia. ref
August 2004

Dr. Ammar Hayani

Dr. Ammar Hayani, together with colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, was the first to report using a child's own cord blood to perform a transplant for acute leukemia. Their publication in the journal Pediatrics explains that they tested the cord blood to make sure it did not contain the genetic mutations that were in the leukemia cells. The 3 year old girl's cord blood had been stored in the bank CorCell (now owned by CBAI), and the transplant took place at Advocate Hope Children's Hospital. ref
February 2005

Abby Pell (image courtesy of CBR)

Abby Pell was the first child to receive her own cord blood stem cells, banked at Cord Blood Registry, as experimental therapy for brain injury. Abby suffered from oxygen deprivation at birth. Her mother had been turned away by doctors at multiple hospitals before Dr. Kurtzberg agreed to try the procedure at Duke Medical Center. ref
May 2005

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg and colleagues published the first paper demonstrating that cord blood transplants can stop the neurologic damage from metabolic storage disorders, by helping patients to create the metabolic enzymes they lack. Their initial work was with patients who had Krabbe's disease and appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. Her group went on to treat dozens of other rare metabolic disorders. ref
October 2005

Mary and Ryan Schneider Dec. 2007

Ryan Schneider was the first child diagnosed with cerebral palsy to be treated with his own cord blood. His cord blood had been stored with Cord Blood Registry and he was treated by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke Medical Center. ref
October 2007

Jake Liao

Jake Liao was the first child to receive a cord blood transplant for a rare and fatal skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB. The discovery that stem cell transplants could teach the body to produce missing skin proteins was made at the University of Minnesota, by a team led by Dr. John Wagner and Dr. Jakub Tolar. ref1, ref2
March 2008

Dr. J.J. Nietfeld 2012

Dr. J.J. Nietfeld, together with Dr. Verter and a team from CIBMTR, published an analysis of U.S. stem cell transplant statistics in the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Over the course of a 70 year lifetime, more than 1 in 200 Americans has a stem cell transplant. ref
October 2009

Dr. Vanderson Rocha

Dr. Vanderson Rocha and Dr. Eliane Gluckman published in the British Journal of Haematology that 20,000 cord blood transplants had been performed to date around the world. ref
September 2010

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg and and colleagues published a paper in the journal Transfusion describing the treatments given to the first 184 children who received their own cord blood at Duke Medical Center as therapy for acquired neurological disorders. These patients had diagnoses including cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, oxygen deprivation at birth, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, stroke, etc. ref
March 2011

Dr. Charles S. Cox Jr.

Dr. Charles S. Cox Jr. and colleagues published in the journal Neurosurgery that giving children their own stem cells showed promise as a treatment for traumatic brain injury, the leading cause of death in children. Dr. Cox is a neurosurgeon who directs the pediatric trauma program at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. ref1
November 2011

Dr. Eliane Gluckman INSERM Prix d'Honneur 2010

Ever since she performed the first cord blood transplant in 1988, Dr. Eliane Gluckman has led studies that compared the outcome of cord blood transplants with related versus unrelated donors, always finding that related are better. The first publication in NEJM in 1997 found survival was more than double with related donors. Unrelated transplants have improved over time, but a publication in Haematologica in 2011 still found survival 1.5 times better with sibling donors. ref
August 2012

Dr. Chez and a patient

Dr. Michael Chez, director of pediatric neurology at the Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento, launched the first clinical trial to treat children who have autism with their own cord blood. According to the CDC, the number of U.S. school children on the autism spectrum doubled over the decade from 2006 to 2016, from 1 in 110 to 1 in 54. ref1, ref2
December 2012

Dr. MinYoung Kim of CHA Bundang Medical Center

Dr. MinYoung Kim and colleagues at CHA Bundang Medical Center in South Korea published the first proof that cord blood is effective in the treatment of cerebral palsy. Results from a placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial were published in the journal Stem Cells. ref1, PGCB
December 2012

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood logo

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood reported that by the end of 2012, family banks around the world had released over 900 cord blood collections for therapy. Overall, roughly half went to sibling transplants and half were used by the child from which the blood was banked. PGCB
April 2013

Dr. John Wagner

Dr. John Wagner performed the world's first cord blood transplant of a child who had both leukemia and HIV. The goal was to cure both by transplanting cord blood from a donor who carries a rare genetic mutation that confers resistance to HIV. Dr. Wagner heads the University of Minnesota's transplant program. ref1, ref2
July 2013

Dr. Karen K. Ballen

Dr. Karen Ballen, together with Dr. Gluckman and Dr. Broxmeyer, published a review of the first 25 years of cord blood transplantation in the journal Blood. To date, more than 30,000 cord blood transplants have been performed around the world. ref
September 2014

Dr. Hal Broxmeyer

Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, the scientist who invented our standard protocols for banking cord blood, has demonstrated that cord blood that was cryopreserved more than 23 years can be thawed to recover a yield of viable stem cells that is undimished by time. PGCB
December 2015

Ilya Yemets, MD PhD

Dr. Ilya Yemets, together with colleagues at the Center for Pediatric Cardiology in Kiev Ukraine, has performed over 100 surgeries in which children with severe congenital heart defects received their own cord blood to support their cardiopulmonary bypass. ref1, PGCB
August 2017

Dr. Karen K. Ballen

Dr. Karen Ballen has updated her world review and to date, more than 40,000 cord blood transplants have been performed around the world. ref
October 2017

Duke University School of Medicine

Duke University has received FDA approval for an Expanded Access Protocol that allows cord blood infusions (autologous or sibling) to treat acquired brain disorders. In the following years, the waiting list for this EAP program has grown to thousands of children. ref
November 2018

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood logo

Parent's Guide to Cord Blood reports that the world inventory of cord blood in storage is now about 750 thousand in public banks and nearly 7 million in family banks. More than 60% of the world's privately banked cord blood is managed by the Top 10 largest companies. PGCB
March 2019

Dr. Juliet Barker

Dr. Juliet Barker of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the leading expert on the use of double cord transplants to treat adults. She has argues that cord blood transplants remain a vital resource for patients that are not represented on bone marrow registries and/or possess rare genetic types. ref1, ref2
June 2020

New York Blood Center National Cord Blood Program

The NY Blood Center suddenly curtailed their famous cord blood donation program, ceasing all collections and letting go all research staff. A small crew continues to work in the laboratory to maintain the inventory and release units called for transplant. Both current and former employees are forbidden to speak of this shut down.

February 2021

Cryo-Cell International

Cryo-Cell International has obtained exclusive commercial rights to cord blood and cord tissue therapies developed at Duke. Cryo-Cell plans to open infusion clinic(s) that will enable broad public access to any Expanded Access Protocols approved for Duke therapies. PGCB
June 2021

Gamida Cell

Gamida Cell has run over a dozen clinical trials to establish that transplants of their expanded cord blood product Omidubicel (aka NiCord) achieves neutrophil engraftment in a median of 12 days, which is even faster than bone marrow transplants. ref1, PGCB