Cord blood stem cell cryopreservation

Erik J. Woods, Karen E. Pollok, Michael A. Byers, Brandon C. Perry, Jester Purtteman, Shelly Heimfeld, Dayong Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations


Umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells that have proven useful clinically to reconstitute the hematopoietic system in children and some adults. Recent studies have suggested that cord blood contains mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells as well, which may have many additional uses on their own or in conjunction with their hematopoietic counterparts. In order to effectively utilize cord blood clinically, it must be frozen and banked. The protocols used for this have largely been adapted from those originally designed for bone marrow hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, and there is no consensus on optimal procedures for cord blood cells. In this review, the considerations required to develop an ideal cryopreservation strategy are discussed, and an analysis of current literature related to these steps is presented. The closest consensus considering cord blood hematopoietic cells is presented as 5-10% concentrations of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) using slow cooling and rapid thaw. New data involving a long-term culture-initiating cell (LTC-IC) assay testing such a protocol is also presented in which no statistical difference was observed for 5 vs. 10% DMSO at cooling rates of 1 °C/min. The ultimate impact of umbilical cord blood may be far more significant than is currently realized, and overall, clinical data justifies further development of umbilical cord blood banks worldwide. Cryopreservation processing that yields consistent high recovery of functionally viable cells is crucial for the further successful use of this important cell resource.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
JournalTransfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007


  • Cryopreservation
  • Hematopoietic stem cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Umbilical cord blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

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  • Cite this

    Woods, E. J., Pollok, K. E., Byers, M. A., Perry, B. C., Purtteman, J., Heimfeld, S., & Gao, D. (2007). Cord blood stem cell cryopreservation. Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy, 34(4), 276-285.