Fresh or frozen grafts for allogeneic stem cell transplantation: conceptual considerations and a survey on the practice during the COVID-19 pandemic from the EBMT Infectious Diseases Working Party (IDWP) and Cellular Therapy & Immunobiology Working Party (CTIWP)

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2023 Dec;58(12):1348-1356. doi: 10.1038/s41409-023-02099-w. Epub 2023 Sep 6.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on medical practices, including the delivery of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). In response, transplant centers have made changes to their procedures, including an increased use of cryopreservation for allogeneic haematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) grafts. The use of cryopreserved grafts for allogeneic HCT has been reviewed and analysed in terms of potential benefits and drawbacks based on existing data on impact on cell subsets, hematological recovery, and clinical outcomes of approximately 2000 patients from different studies. A survey of European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation centers was also conducted to assess changes in practice during the pandemic and any unnecessary burdens on HPC donors. Before the pandemic, only 7.4% of transplant centers were routinely cryopreserving HPC products, but this percentage increased to 90% during the pandemic. The results of this review and survey suggest that cryopreservation of HPC grafts is a viable option for allogeneic HCT in certain situations, but further research is needed to determine long-term effects and ethical discussions are required to balance the needs of donors and patients when using frozen allografts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / methods
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation* / methods
  • Humans
  • Pandemics