Umbilical cord blood: processing and allocation examined



Belgian Red Cross-Flanders’ Umbilical Cord Blood Intermediary Structure (IMS) is responsible for processing, storing and issuing umbilical cord blood. It works closely with the Umbilical Cord Blood Bank at Ghent University Hospital, which undertakes donor selection and collection of the cord blood.

Umbilical cord blood contains stem cells which are used in treating blood disorders such as leukemia.

In 2012, we analyzed the information requests and allocations of umbilical cord blood. This revealed that transplantation centers are much more interested in umbilical cord blood with a large number of nucleated cells. These are primarily white blood cells and their predecessors, including stem cells. Units with a large number of nucleated cells are also much more likely to be used for transplantation.

Based on this information, we are now only processing umbilical cord blood with a large number of nucleated cells. In other words, we are investing in umbilical cord blood that will actually be used for transplantation and are responding to the demand of transplantation centers.

In 2012, the Ghent University Hospital Umbilical Cord Blood Bank and Belgian Red Cross-Flanders IMS began working with two new collection centers, the Jan-Palfijn General Hospital in Ghent and the Nikolaas General Hospital in Sint-Niklaas. In this way we hope to find enough umbilical cord blood that meets our stricter criteria.

Through these various initiatives, we aim to further increase the number of umbilical cord blood units released for transplantation.

Related items:

Collection: quick and easy

Storage: better temperature control