Stem Cells

A stem cell, as seen under a microscope. Photo: Steve Gschmeissner/Science photo library
Stem cell transplants from adult donors or umbilical cord blood, commonly known as bone marrow transplants, are often the last hope of survival for patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia. However, more than 400 patients each year in the UK are denied access to this potentially lifesaving treatment because they lack a suitable donor.

NHSBT manages the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR), the NHS Cord Blood Bank (NHS CBB) and provides specialist services related to the provision of haematopoietic stem cells (stem cells which can turn into blood cells) for the treatment of blood cancers. We aim to continually increase the quality and effectiveness of our stem cells services.

Having led the UK Stem Cell Strategic Forum we are now working with partners across the sector with the aim of delivering against the recommendations made for improving provision of stem cells for transplantation. The NHS CBB already holds the UK´s largest inventory of donated cord blood units and we are now working with Anthony Nolan to build a combined inventory of 50,000 units with increased genetic diversity to improve outcomes for all patients needing a stem cell transplant. 

UK Stem Cells 'can help British blood cancer patients win the race against time'

Stem Cells Services


  • Sarah Thompson, stem cells recipient

NHSBT manages the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR) and the NHS Cord Blood Bank (NHS CBB) and provides a range of specialist services related to stem cell provision and transplantation.

Stem Cell Oversight Committee

  • UK Stem Cell Oversight Committee

NHSBT has a key role in the implementation of the recommendations of the UK Stem Cell Strategic Forum and supports the work of its successor, the UK Stem Cell Strategy Oversight Committee.

Working in Partnership


  • Working In Partnership

NHSBT works in partnership with third sector organisations and the UK Health Services in the provision of an efficient and effective source of donor haematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of UK patients.