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The New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program (NCBP) was started in 1992 with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It was founded to investigate cord blood as a possible solution to a critical public health need: finding appropriate hematopoietic transplants for patients who have no matched bone marrow donors.

In April 2010, more than 50,000 banked cord blood units and over 3,500 transplanted patients later, the NCBP is the largest non-profit public cord blood bank in the world. NCBP now collects more than 7,000 new units each year and is projected to expand collections to over 10,000. We are committed to doubling our inventory over the next five years to help improve substantially the probability that patients, both children and adults, can find a suitable cord blood match with a good cell dose.

The New York Blood Center’s NCBP has teams of trained technicians and nurses collecting cord blood in eight collaborating birthing hospitals [See Collection Sites] Staff in our Processing Laboratory process, freeze and store the cord blood units in liquid nitrogen freezers, ready for shipping whenever needed. Each unit is tested for the number of relevant cells. The unit and the donor’s mother are also tested for HLA type and certain transmissible infectious diseases. NCBP staff work with Transplant Centers to help select the “best” available unit for each individual patient, drawing on what we have learned from units already transplanted. Prior to transplantation, we confirm the HLA type of the patient and cord blood unit. Dr. Pablo Rubinstein, the NCBP Director and Dr. Andromachi Scaradavou, the Program’s Medical Director, are available to Transplant Center physicians and coordinators for consultation on cord blood unit selection.

We are committed to providing high quality cord blood units and promoting high standards in cord blood banking. The New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program was the first cord blood bank to receive NetCord-FACT accreditation. We also work under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) IND (Investigational New Drug) exemption. The FDA has now issued rules for licensure and federal supervision of cord blood banking. NCBP believes that FDA licensure is critical to assuring that all patients get high quality cord blood, no matter what bank it comes from and its Guidance documents have contributed to the process [See Milestones]. NCBP vigorously encourages FDA oversight of the use of this investigational product.


Cord Blood Transplant Recipient Keone Penn (with his mother, Leslie

The New York Blood Center's National Cord Blood Program provided cord blood for Keone Penn (with his mother, Leslie, in this photo) and for about one-third of the world's unrelated cord blood transplants.