Related hematopoietic cell donor care: is there a role for unrelated donor registries?

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In almost half of allogeneic hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplants, a related donor (RD) is used, yet a lack of standardized guidelines means that their care is heterogeneous. Changes to regulatory standards aim to improve uniformity, but adherence to these regulations can prove logistically difficult for the transplant centers (TCs) managing RDs. Discussion has ensued around possible alternative models of related donor care and a session at the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) annual meeting in 2013 debated the question of whether a role exists for unrelated donor registries in the management of ‘related’ donors. In this overview, we discuss the issues raised at this debate and the pros and cons of donor registry involvement in various aspects of RD management. By examining existing models of related donor care that have been adopted by members of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA), we look for ways to enhance and homogenize RD care, while also enabling transplant centers to meet standards required for mandatory accreditation.

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