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Research on the effects of stem cell source and patient age on transplantation outcomes
Date:12/7/2008

er for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation along with the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the New York Blood Center

In the absence of a matched sibling donor, the first choice for stem cell transplantation for patients with acute leukemia is an unrelated adult donor whose tissue type matches that of the patient. However, when such a donor is not available, the researchers of this study found that mismatched unrelated cord blood transplants were a suitable alternative to mismatched bone marrow or peripheral blood transplants because cord blood is readily available, making it an ideal option when transplantation is needed urgently.

For successful transplantation, bone marrow and peripheral blood donors are examined for genetic compatibility with the patient by comparing their human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). Current estimates from the National Marrow Donor Program donor registry suggest that the probability of finding a matched unrelated adult donor is relatively low (51 percent for Caucasians, 30 percent for Hispanics, 20 percent for Asians, and 17 percent for African Americans).

Cord blood donated to public cord blood banks can be an alternative source of stem cells for patients who need a transplant but cannot find a matched adult donor. The matching requirements for cord blood are not as strict as for bone marrow or peripheral blood because cord blood cells are immunologically immature and therefore more tolerant to mismatching.

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of three types of stem cell sources: bone marrow, peripheral blood, and cord blood. Study results were based on an analysis of the outcomes of 1,240 adults with acute leukemia (707 patients with acute myeloid leukemia and 533 patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia) from 2002 to 2006. Of those patients who received a bone marrow stem cell transplant, 243 were matched at eight out of eight possible HLA loci and
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Contact: Laura Stark
lstark@hematology.org
415-978-3505
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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