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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2008 Aug;14(8):938-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2008.06.005.

Paucity of HLA-identical unrelated donors for African-Americans with hematologic malignancies: the need for new donor options.

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Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Identification of an HLA identical donor/recipient pair using high-resolution techniques at HLA A, B, C, and DRB1 optimizes survival after adult unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplant. It has been estimated that roughly 50% of African-Americans have suitable unrelated donors based on serologic typing, but there is little information on the likelihood of identifying an HLA-identical unrelated donor using molecular techniques. From February 2002 to May 2007, we performed 51 unrelated donor searches for African-American patients using the National Marrow Donor Program and found HLA identical unrelated donors for only 3. By contrast, 50 (98%) had at least 1, and often multiple, appropriately matched cord blood units available. Very few African-American recipients have HLA-identical unrelated donors. To allow more African-American patients to proceed to transplant, innovative donor strategies, including adult cord blood transplantation, haploidentical transplant, or the identification of permissive mismatches should be investigated.

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