Heparin Benefits Collection, Transport and Processing

Why CBR believes heparin is important in stem cell processing, collecting, and transporting your baby’s cord blood.

Heparin benefits our families during processing, collection, and transport

For over forty years, standard physician protocol has been to collect bone marrow-derived hematopoietic stem cells in heparin. These are the same type of stem cells found in cord blood. In addition, dry heparin helps physicians collect a larger volume of cord blood and allows for greater cell recovery during processing.

Heparin and CPD are both anticoagulants to prevent blood clots from forming. Bone marrow stem cells are routinely collected in heparin, while whole blood donations are routinely collected in CPD. The selection of an anticoagulant has an impact on processing, collecting, and transporting stem cells. It is important to have your stem cells collected using the anticoagulant of choice for stem cell collections.

Processing: Every stem cell is precious.

Anticoagulant selection impacts the number of stem cells recovered during processing. This is critical as the Total Nucleated Cell count, or TNC, (a cell population rich in stem cells) is a primary selection criterion for transplant physicians. Lyophilized (dry) Heparin has a 17% greater mean TNC recovery in the product storage bag than units collected in CPD69.

TNC Recovery Across AXP Compartments

Collection: Volume is important.

Dry heparin allows cord blood to be collected without dilution, preventing acidification and other dilution-related issues. Prolonged exposure of cells to an acidic environment, similar to that found with CPD at low blood to CPD dilutions, may induce losses in cell viability and can adversely impact cell recovery.76 Compared to CPD, lyophilized heparin does not dilute the cord blood and increases cell recovery up to 73%, over the wide range of cord blood sample volumes collected by family banks.70

Stage 1: Collection

Stage 2: Processing

Transport: Time is of the essence.

Anticoagulant and transport time can have a significant impact on cell viability and concentration.

  • Longer cell viability preservation: Heparin maintains greater cord blood cell viability than CPD at 24 and 48 hours.
  • Higher cell concentration: Heparin maintains higher concentration of cord blood cells than CPD at 48 hours.71

TNC Concentration

TNC Viability

A study recently published in Transfusion reported that for cord blood units collected in CPD, cell viability was significantly affected by the collection volume and time to freezing. Researchers believe that the decreased viability in smaller volume collections may be due to a higher ratio of CPD anticoagulant to blood.72