BACKGROUND: Umbilical cord blood is a useful source of hematopoietic stem cells, especially because compared to equivalent HLA-matched stem cells from unrelated adult donors. A network of community collection sites targeted at particular ethnic groups and serviced by a central processing and storage facility can maximize the genetic diversity of banked cord blood units (CBUs) in a cost-effective fashion.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The present study compared CBUs collected near the Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle, WA, with those collected in Honolulu, HI, and processed in Seattle. Evaluated variables include collection volume, total nucleated cell count, cellular viability, CD34+ cell count, clonogenic activity, and donor race for a total of 1646 CBUs received from July 1998 through November 2002.
RESULTS: CBUs from the two sites did not differ with regard to volume or total nucleated cells. Those from Hawaii had significantly longer transit times (p < 0.001) and lower whole cord blood cell viability. However, the numbers of CFU and viable CD34+ cells were not affected by remote collection. CBUs screened from Seattle were largely from Caucasian donors, whereas over 85 percent of those from Honolulu were from donors of Asian-Pacific Islander or mixed ethnicity.
CONCLUSION: These studies demonstrate the feasibility of long-distance umbilical cord blood banking. Arrange-ments such as those described here could be used to help target cost-effective collection from minority popula-tions and increase the HLA and ethnic diversity for CBUs.