Many patients who need a stem cell transplant cannot find a donor who matches their tissue type. Only half of white patients find a stem cell match among family members or through the Matched Unrelated Donor (MUD) program.
Possible matches are even rarer in other ethnicities, with only 10% of black patients and less than 5% of Asian patients able to find a match through traditional donor methods. It can take three months or more to find a suitable match through donor registries.
When no matched donor is available, half-matched related (haploidentical) donors are now safely used in stem cell transplantation. Patients up to age 65 are potential candidates for haploidentical transplants. Potential donor matches will come from first degree relatives including siblings, children or parents.
The advantages of a haploidentical transplant include:
- Shorter wait time for a stem cell transplant, which is beneficial for patients with aggressive leukemias and lymphomas
- The stem cell transplant process is done in about 2-3 weeks, as opposed to several months with other methods
Outcomes of haploidentical stem cell transplantation have improved over time. MD Anderson's Haploidentical Transplant Program is committed to maximizing transplantation outcomes through research and excellent clinical care.
Appointments and referrals
Patients or referring physicians who need more information, contact:
Robin Rios, Assistant
Patricia Cole, Research Nurse
What to expect
Your first visit to the Haploidentical Transplant Clinic will be a consultation with the healthcare team. During that visit, we will help identify first-degree relatives (parent, siblings or children) who are the closest match to the patient.
Possible donors will come to the clinic to have some blood drawn for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing to determine if they are eligible to donate their stem cells. HLA are proteins that exist on the surface of most cells in the body. HLA markers help the body distinguish normal cells from foreign cells, such as cancer cells.
When a haploidentical match is found, the donor will undergo a procedure to harvest stem cells from the bone marrow, usually from the back part of the pelvic bones.