National Transplant Organisation

Bone marrow transplantation from non-family donors grows by 30% in the last year

News - 10.5.2022

In 2021, Spain recorded its historical maximum of HSCT activity, according to the data balance of the National Transplant Organisation (ONT), which especially recognises the effort made by healthcare professionals to maintain and even strengthen this programme during the health crisis generated by COVID-19. Adaptation to the epidemiological situation explains why transplantation from a family donor grew in 2020 and declined a year later, with the logistics of this type of intervention less complex as they do not depend on the identification of a donor through the Bone Marrow Donor Registry (REDMO).

Today, a suitable donor is available to all patients in need thanks to the different donation options. A total of 3,610 HSCT - or blood stem cells - were collected from bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood (UCB), a 7% growth on the 2020 figure. Of these transplants, 2,156 came from the patient (autologous transplants) and 1,454 from a donor (allogeneic transplants).

It is important to highlight the growth of this second type of transplantation, increasing by 10% compared to the previous year and by 12% on the activity recorded in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The improvement in allogeneic transplant activity has been recorded for more than a decade, with a 67% increase since 2011. This success is part of the National Bone Marrow Plan (PNMO) which pools the efforts of the ONT, the autonomous communities, scientific societies, patient associations and the José Carreras International Foundation, which manages the Spanish Bone Marrow Donor Registry (REDMO), following the signing of the Framework Agreement between this entity, the Ministry for Health and the ONT.

Furthermore, Spain has 64,109 SCU units, 8% of those stored in the world (809,374), making it the largest registry in Europe and the third largest in the world, behind the United States and Taiwan. In 2021, 109 SCU units were used for transplantation, 12 for domestic patients and 117 for foreign patients.

In the 17 non-family transplantation cases performed in our country, SCU from public bank donors were used. However, SCU transplantation activity has declined over time, giving way to alternative donors such as the unrelated donor and the haploidentical donor.

In 2021, 1,053 new unrelated donor searches were activated for Spanish patients. A total of 1,696 compatible donors were identified for 863 patients, which is almost two donors per patient. The median search time to find a compatible donor last year was 26 days and 92% of donors were located within two months.

Non official translation