Cord blood transplantation is a clinically effective form of treatment for many patients with cancer and blood diseases who need a stem cell transplant.  In the last decade, cord blood has become a relevant source of cells in regenerative medicine.

While there is no definitive consensus on exactly how long frozen cord blood can be stored scientists and clinicians worldwide are of the opinion that if cryopreserved and stored properly, then storage can be for decades or more.  Smart Cells use state of the art processing, cryopreservation, and 24/7 monitored storage technologies designed to optimise the viability of stem cells. In vapour phase nitrogen temperatures below -170 degrees Celsius, all metabolic activities in cells are suspended, meaning there should be no deterioration. The majority of public and private banks worldwide use similar tried and tested technologies.

Key work undertaken by Professor Hal Broxmeyer, a distinguished world leader in the field of cord blood therapeutics has demonstrated efficient cell recovery after storage times of 5, 10, 15, 23.5 and most recently  27 years after cells were cryopreserved (1, 2, 3).

Cord blood storage has been available for  just over 3 decades, although in the early years not many units were being stored and used.  It is therefore not possible to look at empirical data beyond that time point, however Professor Broxmeyer’s team have confirmed that long-term cryopreservation for at least 27 years does not significantly alter the numbers and function of the critical haematopoietic (blood making) stem cells found in cord blood.

Realistically, it is in the last 20 years approximately that transplantation using cord blood has become a fully accepted therapeutic option and experts in the field have confidence that ongoing cord blood banking and use should continue as there are well worked out therapeutic strategies in place in addition to refinements and innovations being developed (4, 5, 6).

The Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank FAQs states:  “How long will you store my baby’s cord blood?

We’ll store it until someone needs it for a transplant (or for research if there aren’t enough stem cells to use for a transplant). We can store indefinitely, frozen in cryogenic tanks at temperatures of around -190oC” (7).


At Smart Cells, six years is the longest interval between storage and thawing of frozen cord blood cells that were given to a patient as a transplant which was satisfactory in terms of cell recovery and engraftment. No units older than this have yet been requested.

As part of Smart Cells’ Quality Assurance programme and regulatory compliance, the team regularly undertake validation studies to ensure that the processing, freezing, and storage of cord blood is efficient and that total nucleated and viable CD34+ stem cell recoveries are satisfactory after thawing.Provided procedures to process, store, and thaw stem cells are of a high standard, the main factor that can potentially affect the ultimate post-thaw recovery is the original quality of the cord blood sample itself. Those with initial low viability may not withstand the thawing process in the same way as a more robust product.

The tested timeframe will likely change and be extended as time goes on and clinical studies demonstrate conclusively that cord blood stem cells are viable after long-term frozen storage beyond 30 or more years. Clinical proof will require treating of patients with cord blood units that have been in storage for decades but for now, Smart Cells’ advice aligns with current worldwide expert opinion.







7) cord/umbilical-cord-faqs


Claim your free guide online or talk to us to find out more

Where did you hear about us?
DD slash MM slash YYYY
By clicking submit (below) you are requesting a Free Smart Cells Guide and agreeing to your information being processed as outlined in our Privacy Policy. Your data will not be shared with any Third Parties.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Claim your free guide