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Finding blood and marrow transplant donors for everyone

Haploidentical donors slightly better than cord blood in some cases

Age18-70 years old
Number of Participants370
Research GoalImprove Survival
Although blood and marrow transplant (BMT) can cure leukemia and lymphoma, some people can’t find a fully matched donor. And people with diverse ethnic backgrounds may have more difficulty finding a match.

New research shows that two types of partly matched donors can help: haploidentical and cord blood donors. “Few, if any, patients should be denied transplant for lack of a donor,” researchers wrote.

This news is from a clinical trial that included about 370 US adults with acute leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. People got BMT during 2012-2018 from either a haploidentical donor or a cord blood donor. They all had similar preparation, called reduced-intensity conditioning. 

What is a haploidentical transplant? 

Although it is a mouthful, haploidentical (pronounced HAP-lo-eye-DENtick-al) simply means half-matched for certain genes. A haploidentical, or half-matched, donor can be your mom, your dad or your child. Your brothers or sisters have a 50% chance of being a half-match. 

What is a cord blood transplant? 

Umbilical cord blood, which is often thrown away after birth, instead can be frozen and used for life-saving transplants. Cord blood does not have to be matched as closely as bone marrow. So, it is a good option for people who can’t find a full or half-match. 

Haploidentical transplants may be a little better than cord blood 

In this study, researchers found most people lived longer after a haploidentical transplant than after a cord blood transplant. About 2 years later: 
  • 57% of people with haploidentical transplants were alive 
  • 46% of people with cord blood transplants were alive 

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