A recent study conducted at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota discovered that transplantation of 2 units of cord blood significantly reduces the likelihood of recurrence of leukemia.
This finding may change treatment protocol for patients who are at high risk for recurrence of leukemia and other cancers of the blood and bone marrow.
The study examined 177 patients who were treated with cord blood transplants. The average patient age was 16. Eighty-eight patients were treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 89 were treated for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The analysis demonstrated that that patients in first or second remission from leukemia had a significantly lower likelihood of recurrence if they were transplanted with 2 units of umbilical cord blood than if they were transplanted with one. Using 2 units of cord blood will allow nearly all patients suffering from leukemia to be treated using cord blood.
According to the author of the study, Dr. Michael Verneris, “Given that adult patients were more likely to receive 2 UCB units and that they tend to have more aggressive leukemias, we think that the lower relapse rate with 2 UCB units is remarkable.”