The stem cells found in cord blood are largely hematopoietic stem cells, which can help in the replenishment of a depleted blood supply by providing new, healthy cells. In the case of certain diseases, such as leukemia, anemia, lymphoma, and others where the blood cells and tissues are severely affected, this replenishment is essential.
There are several important properties of cord blood, including that the number of hematopoietic stem cells in cord blood equals, or exceeds, the frequency of hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow. In addition, cord blood hematopoietic stem cells can produce large colonies in vitro, have different growth factor requirements, and can be expanded in long-term culture.
Also, cord blood stem cells are characterized as multipotent, because they are capable of differentiating into numerous stem cell types, including neurons, hepatic cells, and circulating cell types.