Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been carried out for more than 50 years in over 50 countries. Over a million patients have undergone this procedure, giving hope and a new lease of life to many patients with otherwise incurable or high-risk blood-related cancers and other diseases. The procedure involves taking good blood stem cells from an individual and giving them to a patient who has just received a preparative regimen of high dose chemotherapy and/or radiation. These blood stem cells may be autologous if they are derived from the patient himself or allogeneic if obtained from another individual. While a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matched sibling is the first choice as a donor of these blood stem cells, only a quarter of patients have a suitable and matched sibling donor, and an unrelated or mismatched donor may need to be used.
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