The donor search process

The chances for a leukemia patient to find a related donor are rather low and the vast majority of patients is depending on an unrelated volunteer stem cell donor. The closer the HLA match between the potential donor and the patient, the better for the patient. Adding more donors to the registries increases the likelihood for all the patients to find “their” donor.

There are millions of possible HLA combinations and because of this huge diversity an even higher number of registered volunteer donors is needed to give as many patient as possible a chance for the life-saving transplant.

Another very critical factor in the donor search process is time! The faster a donor can be identified, the better the chances for a successful transplant.

National Hub
Thanks to many initiatives it was possible to establish a central donor registry in Germany to coordinate the complex process of the national and international donor search. To increase the donor search process all German registries (almost 30) connect with this national hub (ZKRD=Zentrales Knochenmarkspender-Register Deutschland) in Ulm and provide the transplant relevant data of their donors. The donor information is anonymized, no personal or private is released. This hub also coordinates and forwards all the searches for German patients to the international registries.

This international exchange helps to locate potential donors and a German donor may receive stem cells from Canada or a donor in Germany will donate stem cells for a recipient in Greece.