Friday, 17 January 2014

Study shows no significant difference in long-term experiences of bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell donors

Bone marrow transplant
People donating blood stem cells do not report any difference in long-term experiences when donating blood stem cells from bone marrow compared to stem cells from circulating blood, according to a new study published in this month's Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BBMT).

Conducted by the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN), the pre-specified subgroup analysis included 332 individuals who donated bone marrow or circulating peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs), two blood stem cell collection processes that doctors use today. Donated cells are used in unrelated transplants for patients with life-threatening blood cancers including leukemia and lymphoma.

All donors were interviewed before their procedures about their general health and expectations. Those results were later compared with their responses 48 hours after donation, on a weekly basis until fully recovered, and at six and 12 months after the procedure.

While the short-term side effects resulting from the two procedures differed somewhat - with bone marrow donors reporting more bone and muscle aches in the first week - there were no statistically significant differences in overall physical or psychological status at six months post-donation.

The BMT CTN a federally funded collaboration between transplant centers throughout the United States and Canada, the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/ Be The Match®, its research program, CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®), and the EMMES Corporation—performed the prospective, longitudinal study to determine the health-related quality of life impact on unrelated marrow and PBSC donors, and how each was affected comparatively.

"These study results are crucial, because donors need to feel confident about their own health and safety when they are asked to potentially save someone else’s life. Donors can now know that regardless of which procedure they are asked to undergo, they are not taking on a greater risk. This is especially important as we see an increase in requests for the surgical bone marrow donation procedure." said to Dennis Confer, M.D., chief medical officer for the NMDP/Be The Match and associate scientific director for CIBMTR.

Approximately 75% of unrelated blood stem cell donations are accomplished through PBSC donation and 25% are accomplished through marrow donation. Doctors choose the cell source that is best for the patient receiving the cells for transplant.

Further research and information from the NMDP/Be The Match and its research program, CIBMTR, can be accessed online at

- Switzer GE, Bruce JG, Harrington D, Haagenson M, Drexler R, Foley A, Confer D, Bishop M, Anderlini P, Rowley S, Leitman SF, Anasetti C, & Wingard JR (2014). Health-related Quality of Life of Bone Marrow versus Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donors: A Prespecified Subgroup Analysis from a Phase III RCT-BMTCTN Protocol 0201. Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 20 (1), 118-27 PMID: 24184336

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