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Matched Unrelated Donor Transplantation

Finding a suitable donor can be a difficult and time-consuming task, particularly if there is no sibling who is a match. National and international registries exist where individuals can voluntarily register as potential marrow donors. The search for a bone marrow donor involves looking through these registries to find individuals whose blood closely matches or resembles that of the person in need of a transplant. 

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These registries act as intermediaries between patients and volunteer donors, providing access to millions of potential donors and hundreds of thousands of cord blood units. Approximately 70% of patients requiring a transplant do not have a close match within their own family. In such cases, the next option is to search the World Wide Bone Marrow Donation Registries for an HLA-matched stem cell donor who is unrelated. The process begins with a simple blood or HLA test, which involves collecting cheek cells through a Buccal Swab to evaluate the recipient’s HLA genes. This test, known as HLA typing, identifies antigens or proteins on the surface of cells that are crucial for immune function.

Once the patient’s HLA type is determined, an initial search can be conducted in the National & International Bone Marrow Donation Registries. This search is computerized and aims to find potential bone marrow donors with similar HLA antigens. It is free of charge and does not involve contacting donors at this stage. If the initial search successfully identifies potential donors and both the recipient and doctor agree that an unrelated transplant is necessary, a formal search can be initiated. Keep in mind that this process has multiple stages – there may be several promising matches that do not ultimately work out. The team and registry will continue searching for the best possible match for the patient. If our team locates an adult donor through a transplant registry, the registry will reach out to the donor to arrange final testing and donation. If our team finds matching cord blood, the registry will send the cord blood to our transplant center.

Finding a suitable donor can be a lengthy process, so we encourage you to contact now to begin the donor search promptly. We can search for a donor even if an immediate transplant is not required. Upon discovering a suitable Unrelated donor match from global registries, the Stem Cells are obtained from the specific registry and transported to the Transplant center where the patient is receiving care. The expenses associated with a Matched Unrelated Donor Transplant are significantly elevated, nearly doubling the cost of a Haplo-identical/ Half Matched Transplant. This is due to the necessity for the Transplant Center to acquire Stem Cells from the Unrelated Donor, who may be located in any part of the world, and subsequently conduct the Allogeneic BMT procedure for the patient.