Half-Match Donors May be the Perfect Match In Transplantation for Blood Cancers

the ONA take:

Bone marrow transplantation is a life-saving treatment for many people with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphomas.

The gold standard for treatment is to obtain blood-generating stem cells from a sibling who is a perfect match to the recipient, to minimize potential for graft rejection; however, not all patients will have a full-match sibling. A potential resolution is to use half-match donors, who are relatives but may not be a sibling.

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University conducted this first apples-to-apples comparison that demonstrated that half-match recipients fare just as well as full-match recipients. The study is published in the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

For their study, the researchers used the same approach, the Jefferson Two-Step protocol, with both the full-match and half-match participants. Approximately 70% of the patients in each of the two groups are still alive and cancer free 3 years later.

Although results are only similar, not better, when half-match donors are used, there are significant advantages for patients. First, only 30% of patients have a family member who is a full match.

The process of using unrelated donor registries, or cord blood registries, is expensive and time consuming. Transplantation works best when the patient is in remission; therefore, the patient may only have a small window of time in which to undergo the therapy. In addition, registries often lack matches for minority patients.

The researchers report their study results are encouraging but acknowledge that a randomly controlled prospective trial is needed to help solidify their findings.

Half-Match Donors May be the Perfect Match In Transplantation for Blood Cancers
Bone marrow transplantation is a life-saving treatment for many people with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphomas.
Bone marrow transplantation is a life-saving therapy for many patients with blood cancers like leukemias and lymphomas. Currently, the gold standard blood-generating stem cells are obtained from a donor, a sibling, with a perfect match to the patient in order to minimize the chance of rejection and other complications.
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