BACKGROUND: Research is needed to enhance cord blood (CB) transplantation outcomes and to develop new clinical applications. Based on quality criteria for transplantation, CB collected by public CB banks (CBBs) is often unsuitable for banking, but may still be valuable for research. Canadian researchers have described a need for a centralized program providing ethically sourced CB for research projects. To meet this need, Canadian Blood Services (CBS), in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital, launched the Cord Blood for Research Program (CBRP) in 2014. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The CBRP developed processes for donor research consent and research project approval with oversight from CBS's CBB and appropriate research ethics boards. The CBRP distributes deidentified CB products to research projects across Canada. RESULTS: Since its inception, the CBRP has distributed more than 525 CB units to researchers, supporting 11 research projects. Of the mothers who donate their baby's CB, 77% have chosen to consent to its use for research if it is not bankable. The number of CB units currently available for research via the CBRP exceeds the requests from researchers. CONCLUSION: The CBRP reliably distributes quality CB products that do not qualify for banking to investigators across Canada in an ethical, legal, and transparent manner. This provides an opportunity for the public to directly support research, helps meet the need expressed by Canada's research community, and maximizes the donor's gift. More research is needed to clarify the factors influencing donor and researcher participation in the CBRP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy