Today, patients suffering from serious blood diseases may in some circumstances be transplanted with cord blood, mainly when there is no fully compatible donor among their brothers and sisters or via the France Greffe de Moelle Registry.
These cord blood cells, which are “naïve” in immunological terms, are interesting because they potentially avoid post-transplant immunological problems which ofter occur with the adult haematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow or peripheral blood. However, they are few in number, which means that they require special treatment strategies and may sometimes generate a delay in immune reconstitution. It is up to the doctors to decide whether or not to use a placental blood transplant, depending on the characteristics of the patient’s illness.
Blood from the placenta contains haematopoietic stem cells that can be collected after the baby’s birth without any danger for her/him or his/her mother.
The donation of placental blood represents an additional source of haematopoietic stem cells. It does not replace the donation of bone marrow or peripheral blood. It offers an additional chance of cure for the patients.
In France today, the collection of cord blood is carried out by maternity hospitals affiliated to the « Réseau Français de Sang Placentaire » [French Placental Cord Blood Network], in partnership with the authorised banks. Created in 1999 and supervised by the Agence de la biomédecine, this network brings together the cord blood banks whose role is to organise the collections in collaboration with the maternity hospitals, carry out biological tests on the collected cells and store them so that they can be made available to doctors when a patient needs a transplant, via the national Registry « France Greffe de Moelle ».
The midwives and/or obstetricians of these maternity hospitals are responsible for informing the mothers and obtaining their consent.