Cord blood as a source of donor cells for transplant offers many benefits: Easily collected and stored, it does not need to be as closely matched to a patient’s tissue type for transplantation, unlike bone marrow or peripheral blood. There is also a lower risk of viral transmission and other serious transplantation-related complications, but the number of blood stem cells found in each donor unit collected is sometimes not enough to bring about a transplant’s success.
As such, one strategy is to multiply or expand the number of cord blood stem cells obtained from a single unit through scientific engineering, and that is exactly what Gamida Cell, a world leader in cellular and immune therapies for the treatment of cancer and orphan genetic diseases, has achieved with one of its current pipeline products, Nicord.
NiCord is an expanded umbilical cord blood stem cell product, derived from umbilical cord blood. It is in development to be a curative treatment for more than 50% of high risk leukaemia and lymphoma patients who need a stem cell transplant.
Now, a recent study of its efficacy in the field has revealed positive outcomes and is breaking new ground in the area of blood-related disorders.
The results of the clinical trial published this year show significant improvement in the time donor cells take to engraft, while also displaying a considerable decrease
in bacterial and non-viral grade 2-3 infection rates, resulting in decreased hospitalisation and associated costs. A phase three trial is to be conducted at leading transplantation centres worldwide in an effort to bring Nicord’s advancements to the clinic in the near future.
The technology is an unprecedented step in the right direction and will prove a game changer for thousands of people who suffer from rare blood-related cancers and conditions like this. With the anticipated production of similar results to follow, expect more hope to be uncovered soon.
For more information on enrolling transplantation centres and study inclusion and exclusion criteria please click here
- Sarah Anand, Samantha Thomas, Terry Hyslop et al. Transplantation of Ex Vivo Expanded Umbilical Cord Blood (NiCord) Decreases Early Infection and Hospitalization. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 23 (2017) 1151–1157