The Sickle Cell Unrelated Donor Transplant Trial (SCURT trial) of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) is a phase II study of the toxicity and efficacy of unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation in children with severe sickle cell disease (SCD) using a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen. Here we report the results for the cord blood cohort of this trial. Eight children with severe SCD underwent unrelated donor cord blood transplantation (CBT) following alemtuzumab, fludarabine, and melphalan. Cyclosporine or tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil were administered for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis. Donor/recipient HLA match status was 6 of 6 (n = 1) or 5 of 6 (n = 7), based on low/intermediate-resolution molecular typing at HLA -A, -B, and high-resolution typing at -DRB1. Median recipient age was 13.7 years (range: 7.4-16.2 years), and median weight was 35.0 kg (range: 25.2-90.2 kg). The median precryopreservation total nucleated cell dose was 6.4 x 10(7) /kg (range: 3.1-7.6), and the median postthaw infused CD34 cell dose was 1.5 x 10(5) /kg (range: 0.2-2.3). All patients achieved neutrophil recovery (absolute neutrophil count >500/mm(3)) by day 33 (median: 22 days). Three patients who engrafted had 100% donor cells by day 100, which was sustained, and 5 patients had autologous hematopoietic recovery. Six of 8 patients had a platelet recovery to >50,000/mm(3) by day 100. Two patients developed grade II acute GVHD. Of these, 1 developed extensive chronic GVHD and died of respiratory failure 14 months posttransplantation. With a median follow-up of 1.8 years (range: 1-2.6), 7 patients are alive with a 1-year survival of 100%, and 3 of 8 are alive without graft failure or disease recurrence. Based upon the high incidence of graft rejection after unrelated donor CBT, enrollment onto the cord blood arm of the SCURT trial was suspended. However, because this reduced-intensity regimen has demonstrated a favorable safety profile, this trial remains open to enrollment for unrelated marrow donor transplants. Novel approaches aimed at improving engraftment will be needed before unrelated CBT can be widely adopted for transplanting patients with severe SCD.