Stem cell storage can be done using a stem cell bank or cord blood bank.
The transplantation includes autologous and allogeneic transplants of hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow, peripheral blood or cord blood. Donors for allogeneic transplants can be identical siblings, other family members or typed unrelated volunteer donors. All have their respective place, their advantages or disadvantages.
Over the last decade, a lot has been experienced by different companies. Standardisation of the procedure has led to an expansion to most university hospitals and larger clinics in Europe. Convincing results and reduction in transplant related mortality have opened up new indications and increased patient age.
This is best illustrated by the annual activity surveys of the European group for blood and marrow transplantation which was introduced in the nineties. A total of over four thousand transplants were reported at that time, and all bone marrow derived. Major changes have taken place within this decade and the number has continuously increased and stem cell source has been expanded. During this time, the European group has been assessed and compared to other therapies and several prospective controlled studies have been introduced.
This rapid development of the European group has not remained unchallenged. Major concerns have been issued concerning the value of autologous cells has decreased in absolute terms.
In contrast, more patients were treated than ever before on prospective controlled studies. As such, the annual survey provides a tool to monitor changes in activity for individual indications and allows scientists to observe trends in participating European countries.
The current activity survey of the European group for blood and marrow transplantation is based on the system introduced in the nineties. In January 2000, all the members of the group were requested to report by questionnaire the numbers of newly treated patients by indication, stem cell source and donor type for the year 1999. The same questionnaire was used as in 1998. Identical information was sought from non members who were known to investigators to be performing transplants. Such information was given to the activity survey office by national organisations, neighbouring teams or hospital administrators. Teams not responding by March 2000 were contacted again and if necessary repeatedly.