News & Comment

Cord Blood: Clinical Promise, Ethical Quandary

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Science  02 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5249, pp. 586
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5249.586


Blood from the umbilical cord seems to offer a promising — and perhaps safer—alternative to bone marrow for transplants to treat a variety of life-threatening diseases. But the growth of cord blood banking raises some tough practical and ethical questions: Should donors’ families give consent for genetic tests on the cells? Should the donor be told the results of these tests, and how can his or her privacy be protected? How can quality standards be enforced for centers assembling banks of cord blood?