Optimizing donor selection for public cord blood banking: influence of maternal, infant, and collection characteristics on cord blood unit quality.



Banked unrelated donor umbilical cord blood (CB) has improved access to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for patients without a suitably matched donor. In a resource-limited environment, ensuring that the public inventory is enriched with high-quality cord blood units (CBUs) addressing the needs of a diverse group of patients is a priority. Identification of donor characteristics correlating with higher CBU quality could guide operational strategies to increase the yield of banked high-quality CBUs.

Study design and methods

Characteristics of 5267 CBUs donated to the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, a public bank participating in the National Cord Blood Inventory, were retrospectively analyzed. Eligible CBUs, collected by trained personnel, were processed using standard procedures. Routine quality and potency metrics (postprocessing total nucleated cell count [post-TNCC], CD34+, colony-forming units [CFUs]) were correlated with maternal, infant, and collection characteristics.


High-quality CBUs were defined as those with higher post-TNCC (>1.25 × 10(9)) with CD34+ and CFUs in the upper quartile. Factors associated with higher CD34+ or CFU content included a shorter interval from collection to processing (<10 hr), younger gestational age (34-37 weeks; CD34+ and CFUs), Caucasian race, higher birthweight (>3500 g), and larger collection volumes (>80 mL).


We describe characteristics identifying high-quality CBUs, which can be used to inform strategies for CBU collection for public banks. Efforts should be made to prioritize collections from larger babies born before 38 weeks of gestation. CBUs should be rapidly transported to the processing laboratory. The lower quality of CBUs from non-Caucasian donors highlights the challenges of building a racially diverse public CB inventory.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Page, Kristin M, Adam Mendizabal, Brigid Betz-Stablein, Stephen Wease, Kevin Shoulars, Tracy Gentry, Vinod K Prasad, Jessica Sun, et al. (2014). Optimizing donor selection for public cord blood banking: influence of maternal, infant, and collection characteristics on cord blood unit quality. Transfusion, 54(2). pp. 340–352. 10.1111/trf.12257 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24695.

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Vinod K. Prasad

Consulting Professor in the Department of Pediatrics

1. Expanding the role of umbilical cord blood transplants for inherited metabolic disorders.
2. Impact of histocompatibility and other determinants of alloreactivity on clinical outcomes of unrelated cord blood transplants.
3. Studies to analyse the impact of Killer Immunoglobulin receptors on the outcomes of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation utilizing haploidentical, CD34 selected, familial grafts.
4. Propective longitudinal study of serial monitoring of adenovirus in allogenic transpants(SMAART)patients.
5. Use of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of GVHD

Jessica Muller Sun

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Joanne Kurtzberg

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood and birthing tissues in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.   Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3), Director of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.  The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank is an FDA licensed public cord blood bank distributing unrelated cord blood units for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) through the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.  The Robertson GMP Cell Manufacturing Laboratory supports manufacturing of RETHYMIC (BLA, Enzyvant, 2021), allogeneic cord tissue derived and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and DUOC, a microglial/macrophage cell derived from cord blood.

Dr. Kurtzberg’s research in MC3 focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside, seeking to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries that currently lack effective treatments. Recent areas of investigation in MC3 include clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and autism. Clinical trials testing allogeneic cord blood are also being conducted in adults with acute ischemic stroke. Clinical trials optimizing manufacturing and testing the safety and efficacy of cord tissue MSCs in children with autism, CP and HIE and adults with COVID-lung disease are underway. DUOC, given intrathecally, is under study in children with leukodystrophies and adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In the past, Dr. Kurtzberg has developed novel chemotherapeutic drugs for acute leukemias, assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood unit potency, methods of cord blood expansion, potency assays for targeted cell and tissue based therapies. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials from the FDA.  She has also trained numerous medical students, residents, clinical and post-doctoral fellows over the course of her career.

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