Nowadays a donor can be found for virtually all patients in need of an allogeneic stem cell transplantation, and the decision whether to use a matched or mismatched unrelated donor, an unrelated donor for umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT), or a haploidentical donor depends not only on the availability of the donor but also on patient-, disease-, and center-related factors. This paper summarizes the recent criteria in the selection of cord blood unit, including the cell dose requirement and the HLA typing for the optimal donor choice. The main strategies to optimize the results of UCBT, the conditioning regimens, and the use of antithymocyte globulin and the other platforms of graftversus- host disease prophylaxis are discussed. The paper describes the results of UCBT in children and adults with malignant and nonmalignant diseases and the comparative analysis with other donor type and stem cell sources. Emerging strategies, focusing on the different platforms of ex vivo expansion and the new applications using cord blood stem cell, are also examined.
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