A great success story of modern cancer care has been the development of curative chemo-radiotherapy for the majority of young adults with malignant lymphoma. However, a significant minority of patients is not cured with these approaches and need to undergo a stem cell transplant procedure. Stem cell transplants may use either the patients own bone marrow stem cells (an autologous stem cell transplant) or stem cells from a donor (an allogeneic stem cell transplant). A major limitation of allogeneic stem cell transplantation has been the need to provide a tissue-matched donor for the patient, which is only available for 60-70% of patients.
However, two major new studies have demonstrated that an allogeneic donor can now be found for nearly all patients with lymphoma. By using either partially matched family donors (haploidentical transplantation) or placental cord blood, allogeneic transplantation can be performed in patients with malignant lymphoma and achieve results comparable to those seen with conventionally matched donors. Utilizing the world’s largest transplant database, both of these studies were conducted by the Lymphoma Working Party of the EBMT.
Dr Stephen Robinson, Scientific Secretary of the EBMT Lymphoma Working Party emphasizes: “these results demonstrate that by using either placental cord blood or haploidentical family members an allogeneic donor can be found for all patients needing a transplant. These and other studies from the EBMT continue to guide physicians in the choice of curative transplant therapy for patients with lymphoma.”
 Post Transplant Cyclophosphamide reduces non relapse mortality of haplo-identical transplants yielding similar outcomes as with matched sibling donors. Dietrich S. et al. Haematological Oncology 2015, Volume 33, Supplement 1, abstract 34. (13th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma)
 Alternative donor hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for mature lymphoid malignancies after reduced-intensity conditioning regimen: similar outcomes with umbilical cord blood and unrelated donor peripheral blood. Rodrigues CA et al. Haematologica. 2014 Feb http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23935024