Abstract 3533

Poster Board III-470

Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) is a readily available, alternate donor source for allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell (HSC) transplantation and can be used with lower stringency HLA-matching between donor and host. However, only limited numbers of cells are available and non-engraftment or delayed engraftment occurs often when recipients receive single UCB units that contain < 2.5 × 107 TNC/kg recipient body weight. This excludes single UCB as a donor source for many adult patients who might otherwise benefit from an UCB transplant. Both immunologic and non-immunologic mechanisms may contribute to UCB HSC engraftment failure. UCB T-cells are phenotypically and functionally immature with a high percentage of CD45RA+ T cells and T cells are known to facilitate engraftment in human HSC transplantation. Co-transplantation of irradiated T-cells supported engraftment in an immunocompetent mouse transplant model without increasing GvHD (Waller et al. Blood94: 3222,1999).

The working hypothesis for his study is that the irradiated third party peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) induce a cytokine or cellular response that facilitates hematopoietic engraftment. Long-term culture initiating cell (LTC-IC) frequencies determined with limiting dilution assays were statistically higher when either purified UCB derived CD34+ cells or CB MNCs cells were plated with irradiated PBMNCs (Figure 1).

To assess the impact of irradiated third party PBMCs on UCB engraftment we utilized sub-lethally irradiated NOD/SCID-IL2Rgnull mice in the presence and absence of irradiated third-party human PBMNCs. After sublethal irradiation (240 cGy) female 8 week-old animals were transplanted with either UCB MNCs corresponding to 8×103 (n=5) or 2.66×103 (n=9), or 8.88×102 CD34+ cells (n=9) with or without co-transplantation of 1×106 irradiated (2500 cGy) PBMNCs, and 4 animals received only irradiated PBMNCs as the control group. Engraftment levels are compared by calculating SCID repopulating cell (SRC) frequency. Co-transplantation of PB MNCs with UCB MNCs provided a steady, statistically significant increase in both short-term and long term hematopoietic engraftment (Figure 2).

In these pre-clinical studies, we have confirmed in vitro effects on LTIC formation and in vivo UCB graft-enhancing effects of irradiated PBMNCs. If applied in clinic, this cellular therapy option might overcome a major barrier to successful allogeneic UCB HSC transplantation: engraftment failure, making the procedure more applicable and safer.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.