Availability of unrelated donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for hemoglobinopathies

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2003 Apr;31(7):547-50. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1703887.


Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only curative option for patients with hemoglobinopathies. However, fewer than 30% of individuals will have an HLA-identical sibling. Improvement in outcomes after HSCT using unrelated donors (URD), and the development of novel nontoxic preparative regimens may make URD HSCT an option for hemoglobinopathy patients who do not have an HLA-identical sibling donor. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) maintains a Registry of 4 million volunteer donors, and facilitates URD HSCT for patients with life-threatening blood diseases. In light of the increased representation of minorities in the NMDP registry, donor searches were run in April 2001 for a cohort of 272 thalassemia patients and 77 sickle cell disease (SCD) patients for whom searches had been submitted between 1989 and 2001 in order to determine the current likelihood of finding a potential donor of hematopoietic stem cells for hemoglobinopathy patients. About 59.7% SCD patients 80.2% thalassemia patients will find at least one potential 6/6 HLA matched donor or umbilical cord blood (UCB) unit. All patients will find at least one donor or UCB that is a potential 5/6 HLA match. In conclusion the majority of hemoglobinopathy patients will find at least one potential HLA matched unrelated bone marrow donor or UCB.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / therapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Registries
  • Thalassemia / epidemiology
  • Thalassemia / therapy*
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution*