January 27, 2009
Early this week, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) celebrated its 35,000th transplant, marking an impressive milestone in the nonprofit organization's 21-year history. In just 13 months, the NMDP facilitated more than 5,000 unrelated bone marrow and cord blood transplants, representing a nearly 18 percent increase over 2007.
"We could not have reached this important achievement without the dedication and commitment of our partners, from donor centers and transplant facilities to U.S. federal agencies and international registries. Their support has clearly helped us serve more patients," said Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, NMDP chief executive officer. "We look forward to our continued collaboration in working to ensure that all patients have access to this life-saving treatment."
The tremendous increase in patients receiving transplants stems from advances in transplant therapy including significant improvements in survival rates. Changes in clinical practice, including more precisely matched donors and patients, more potent drugs to combat complications, and more transplant options for patients (bone marrow, umbilical cord blood or peripheral blood stem cells) have made it possible for increasingly more patients, including older patients, to receive transplants.
Additionally, international partnerships and the growth and diversity of the NMDP Registry have helped more patients find matches. Every search conducted through the NMDP now provides access to more than 12 million donors and more than 300,000 cord blood units on global registries. In 2008, approximately 51 percent of the transplants facilitated by the NMDP involved either an international donor or patient.
"Facilitating 5,000 transplants in such a short period of time was accomplished with a tremendous amount of global cooperation. Our international partnerships are providing better access to care for all," added Chell.
Continued advances in transplant medicine and increases in the number of volunteer adult donors and publicly donated cord blood units on global registries, particularly from racially and ethnically diverse communities, will continue to improve transplant outcomes and ensure all patients receive the transplant they need.
Learn more about NMDP. Or for more information call 1 (800) MARROW-2 or join online at www.marrow.org/join.