Updated on 10 December 2012
The study analyzed outcomes for more than 15,000 unrelated transplant patients
Singapore: Survival rates have increased significantly over the past decade among patients with leukemia and other life threatening diseases who received blood stem cell transplants from donors outside of their families, according to new research.
Results of the recent study showed that the one-year survival rate for all unrelated transplant patients improved 12 to 13 percent between 2000 and 2009, and a large percentage of patients maintained improvements through their three-year follow-up.
The retrospective cohort study analyzed outcomes for more than 15,000 unrelated transplant patients and was led by National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and its research arm, Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). The significant improvements are correlated with reduced treatment-related mortality, and in certain populations, fewer disease relapses.
"Such a remarkable improvement in outcomes demonstrates that unrelated transplantation is a good option for the 70 percent of patients who need a transplant, but don't have a suitable matching donor within their family," said Dr Navneet Majhail, lead author of the study and medical director at the NMDP. "This is good news for these patients, and should reassure physicians about the safety and efficacy of referring a patient for an unrelated transplantation."
In fact, the study again confirmed that those patients who received transplants earlier in their disease fared far better than those with advanced disease, emphasizing the importance of earlier referrals by physicians.