Double Unit Grafts for the Treatment of High Risk Hematologic Malignancies
Umbilical cord blood (UCB) collected from healthy newborns is an alternative source of blood-forming stem cells and UCB transplant is a very promising treatment strategy in children with leukemia. However, early experience in UCB transplant in adults has not been successful in many patients due to insufficient number cells in a single UCB collection (known as a UCB “unit”). Early experience in a new way of doing UCB transplants in adults by combining UCB collections from two different babies has been encouraging. This proposal will further investigate these “double” unit UCB transplants after high dose therapy to treat patients with leukemia and myelodysplasia, and UCB will be studied in the laboratory in order to better understand how these “double” unit transplants work. Finally, the extent to which UCB extends access to transplant in patients without other suitable donors, and what patients remain without donors, will be analyzed. This work is important as successful UCB transplant in adolescents and adults will significantly extend access to curative therapy for many patients with cancers of the blood and bone marrow.