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To date, more than 25,000 hematopoietic transplants have been carried out across Europe for hematological disorders, the majority being for hematological malignancies. At least 70% of these are autologous transplants, the remaining 30% being allogeneic, which are sourced from related (70% of the allogeneic) or unrelated donors. Peripheral blood mobilized with granulocyte colony stimulating factor is the major source of stem cells for transplantation, being used in approx 95% of autologous transplants and in approx 65% of allogeneic transplants. Other cell sources used for transplantation are bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. One crucial advance in the treatment of these disorders has been the development of the ability to cryopreserve hematopoietic stem cells for future transplantation. For bone marrow and mobilized peripheral blood, the majority of cryopreserved harvests come from autologous collections that are stored prior to a planned infusion following further treatment of the patient or at the time of a subsequent relapse. Other autologous harvests are stored as backup or "rainy day" harvests, the former specifically being intended to rescue patients who develop graft failure following an allogeneic transplant or who may require this transplant at a later date. Allogeneic bone marrow and mobilized peripheral blood are less often cryopreserved than autologous harvests. This is in contrast to umbilical cord blood that may be banked for directed or sibling (related) hematopoietic stem cell transplants, for allogeneic unrelated donations, and for autologous donations. Allogeneic unrelated donations are of particular use for providing a source of hematopoietic stem cells for ethnic minorities, patients with rare human leukocyte antigen types, or where the patient urgently requires a transplant and cannot wait for the weeks to months required to prepare a bone marrow donor. There are currently more than 200,000 banked umbilical cord blood units registered with the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide registry. In this chapter, we describe several protocols that we have used to cryopreserve these different sources of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, keeping in mind that the protocols may vary among transplant processing centers.

Original publication




Journal article


Methods Mol Biol

Publication Date





237 - 259


Blood Banks, Bone Marrow, Cryopreservation, Europe, Fetal Blood, Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor, Hematologic Neoplasms, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Mobilization, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, Registries, Stem Cell Transplantation, Tissue Banks, Transplantation, Autologous, Transplantation, Homologous