Cord Blood Banking 2.0

What is Cord Blood Banking 2.0?  Are we already entering the second version of cord blood banking?

A new paradigm for cord blood banking will be explored in an important session of the Cord Blood Connect international congress that opens this Thursday.


“Current developments suggest an evolution from banks for transplantation to banks that support cell therapy, regenerative medicine and specialized transfusion,” says Dr. Sergio Querol Giner who will chair the session. Dr. Querol is medical director of Programa Concordia Banc de Sang i Teixits cord blood bank in Barcelona.

“Over the past three decades, cord blood banks have established their role as an important alternative allograft stem cell source. In the future that role needs to expand to updated transplant approaches and development of new cord blood applications. Doing this will require a coordinated, multicenter review of transplantation methods and an upgrade and realignment of banking resources and operations,” he said.

Improving Cord Blood Transplantation and Beyond

Dr. Querol points to clinical developments that have been transforming cord blood therapies:

  • better definition of the cellular threshold for engraftment
  • development of transplantation methods for adult patients
  • engraftment acceleration with single-cell expansion and homing technologies
  • personalized protocols that improve efficacy
  • the use of adoptive cell therapy to mitigate delayed immune reconstitution
  • advanced therapies that further enhance the graft-versus-leukemia effect

“The role of cord blood banks in improving transplantation outcomes also is critical, which means optimizing the collection, processing, storage and characterization of cord blood units, improving reproducibility and efficiency, and managing costs,” he said.

“Building on this ground, Cord Blood Banking 2.0 goes beyond transplantation to make the most of all donated cord blood units. This evolution will require promotion of international scientific and technical collaborations between banking specialists, clinical investigators and transplant physicians. A consortium of innovation in cord blood therapies may be needed to further develop the concept.”

Session Faculty

Presenters in the Cord Blood Banking 2.0 session will be:

  • Paolo Rebulla, former director of the Milano Cord Blood Bank and scientific director of Episkey, discussing what can be done with the nearly 90 percent of collected units not meeting strict criteria to become valid for transplantation processing.
  • E.J. Shpall of the Cell Therapy Laboratory and director of the cord blood bank at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, speaking about the “sleeping inventory” in banks that can be used for research and as starting material for advanced therapies.
  • Belén Alvarez-Palomo, senior scientist at the Catalan Blood and Tissue Bank in Barcelona, relating experience with cord blood iPSC haplobank-derived cell therapies and the development of immunologically compatible immunotherapies.
  • Daniel Gibson, scientific director of cell and gene therapies at Anthony Nolan in London, suggesting how new ethical, financial and economic models will be needed to make Cord Blood Banking 2.0 operationally possible.

The session, which Dr. Querol describes as “disruptive,” is scheduled for the second day of the virtual congress.