Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) – Survival Rate
In case of transplantation, if autologous stem cells are not available or cannot be used, the best alternative is using stem cells from a relative (ideally a sibling). According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine1, the survival rate of patients, who have received transplant of stem cells from a sibling (cells from private / family bank), is about 63% the first year after transplantation. The use of unrelated donor stem cells (cells derived from a donation bank) reduces this percentage to 29%.
According to the same study, if a stem cell transplant from unrelated donor is used (from donation bank), the graft versus host disease rate (GVHD) is 20%. In the contrary, if a stem cell transplant from a sibling is used (cells from private / family bank), the rate is very low (around 5%).
In conclusion, the donation banks can contribute in finding a suitable sample for transplantation,n but not the perfect for every particular case. When survival is the issue, finding the “perfect” graft seems crucial. Parents who choose to store their children’s stem cells in a private / family bank are anxious to ensure the best chance of survival in case these cells are needed and not just “one” chance.
1.Gluckman E et al. N Engl J Med. 1997, 337, 373-381
European standard with respect to the family stem cell storage and donation.