The History of Cord Blood Banking

To date, approximately 8,000 people world wide have received medical therapies using the stem cells derived from a newborn's umbilical cord after birth. Used in medical therapies in a way similar to stem cells from bone marrow, cord blood stem cells have the power to build a new blood and immune system.

[1983] - First proposal of the concept of using umbilical cord blood as an alternative source of stem cells for transplant.

[1988] - First successful cord blood transplant to regenerate blood and immune cells in Paris, France, on a six-year-old boy suffering from Fanconi's Anemia, a blood disorder.

[1992] - The New York Blood Center establishes the first public bank for umbilical cord blood through funding provided by the National Institutes of Health.

[1992] - University of Arizona banks the first cord blood sample in the world specifically stored for family use

[1993] - First unrelated cord blood transplant at Duke University.

[1995] - First family bank, Cord Blood Registry opens.

[1996] - First U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational New Drug (IND) for cord blood - NIH/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLB) Sponsored Cord Blood Transplantation Study(COBLT).

[1997] - A successful cord blood transplant performed on a 46-year-old man with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a type of cancer, during a clinical trial using cord blood that was expanded ex vivo.

[1998] - AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) accredits first family bank, Cord Blood Registry.

[1998] - First successful transplant to cure sickle cell anemia. Twelve-year-old Keone Penn, suffering from sickle cell anemia was treated at the Emory University Department of Pediatrics. According to the National Cord Blood Program, one year after the transplant, doctors pronounced him cured.

[2000] - World's first umbilical cord blood transplant performed using pre-implantation genetic testing to ensure a perfect tissue match. The transplant took place at the Fairview-University Blood and Marrow Transplant Services in Minneapolis, MN.

[2004] - Health and Human Services Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2004 provides funds to create a National Cord Blood Program.

[2004] - Institute of Medicine (IOM) begins year long study to make recommendations for a national cord blood program.

[2004] - Illinois becomes first state to enact legislation to mandate that birthing women have the option to donate their babies cord blood to a public bank at no cost

[2005] - IOM publishes cord blood study, which includes a recommendation that women must be provided with a balanced perspective on their cord blood option.

[2005] - U.S. Congress passes national cord blood legislation. The Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Act of 2005 (H.R. 2520) to create a national inventory of 150,000 high quality cord blood samples.

[2005] - UK Researchers discover embryonic like stem cells in cord blood.

[2005] - More than 6,000 cord blood stem cell transplants worldwide.

[2006] - More than 8,000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide.

[2007] - President George W. Bush issues an Executive Order directing research efforts to focus on alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells, including umibilical cord blood.

"Indeed, one of the best kept secrets in America today is that umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult stem cells are curing people of a myriad of terrible conditions and diseases."
Representative Chris Smith, upon the passage of The Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Act of 2005

"It made sense to me that women be informed about the possibility of donating that blood for research or storing it for future use. Education is the key to the whole process."
Massachusetts State Senator Cynthia Creem, sponsor of MA state cord blood legislation