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EBMT 2021 | Impact of COVID-19 on “to go” stem cells

Anna Sureda, MD, PhD, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Duran I Reynals Hospital, Barcelona, Spain, outlines challenges around stem cell donation for unrelated donor transplant during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Sureda describes how, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many transplantations were delayed and, as a result, many donated stem cells will go to waste. This interview took place during the 47th Annual Meeting of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) 2021.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

That was a session that was included in the transplant coordinators day. It was a very interesting session where we had three different docs: one coming from US, the other one coming from the DKMS, and the other one from the Netherlands, highlighting the different problems and issues that the stem cell donation for, in terms of unrelated donor transplant, had to face during COVID-19 pandemic.

Basically as a summary, there was a significant proportion of transplants that were eventually delayed, a higher percentage of products that were cryopreserved with some important issues in relation to the cryopreservation of stem cell progenitors...

That was a session that was included in the transplant coordinators day. It was a very interesting session where we had three different docs: one coming from US, the other one coming from the DKMS, and the other one from the Netherlands, highlighting the different problems and issues that the stem cell donation for, in terms of unrelated donor transplant, had to face during COVID-19 pandemic.

Basically as a summary, there was a significant proportion of transplants that were eventually delayed, a higher percentage of products that were cryopreserved with some important issues in relation to the cryopreservation of stem cell progenitors. And also, another issue that was clearly highlighted by the three speakers was the fact that there is not a very high but significant proportion of products that will never be used, basically because the patient’s condition deteriorated during this process. So, I think that we were able to learn a lot and to understand how we have to improve all the process, nowadays that we are still facing problems with COVID-19.

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