Valproic acid (VPA) is a histone deacetylase inhibitor previously shown to promote the proliferation and self-renewal of CD34(+) hematopoietic cells. We tested the effect of VPA in conjunction with the selective amplification technology developed by Viacell Inc. Stem cells enriched from frozen cord blood were cultured for 7 d, subjected to reselection and grown in fresh medium for a further 7 d. Treatment with VPA resulted in an average two-fold higher expansion of CD45(+)34(+) cells compared with control. Furthermore, VPA-treatment induced higher numbers of CD45(+)34(+) cells to reside in the S phase than control cultured cells and resulted in a 2.5-fold upregulation in HOXB4 expression. Importantly, VPA-treated cells reconstituted hematopoiesis in non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice with a six-fold higher efficiency than control cells. Collectively, our results indicate that VPA, already used clinically for neurologic disorder treatment, is a useful additive for the ex vivo culture of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells to enhance engraftment efficiency.