During the pandemic, transplant centers were in a big pinch. They had patients who desperately needed lifesaving blood-forming cells. But the world, including the transplant world, was upended due to transportation and supply chain issues and a little-understood and evolving virus. Importantly, cell donors couldn’t travel due to restrictions. No donors, no transplants.
Be The Match came to the rescue. Be The Match offered centralized biobanking and cryopreservation (preservation through deep freezing) services to meet the emergency needs. Be The Match already had these capabilities in place but offered them more broadly due to the unique circumstances of the pandemic. And to save lives.
Fifty-eight transplant centers in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand took advantage of the biobanking and cryopreservation services, and cell products were infused in 75 patients in need of transplant. More than 170 products were collected from donors.
By providing this much-needed service, the Be The Match ensured flexibility in scheduling cell collection from donors. In other words, donors were allowed leeway in when and where they could donate. Be The Match also ensured cell products were transported and processed swiftly to guarantee their quality.
Here’s how it worked:
- Cells were collected from donors following National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) standards between January 2020 and February 2022.
- Within 24 hours of cell collection, cell products were transported to one of two labs — the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank at Duke University or the Cellular Therapeutics Program at the University of Minnesota.
- At the two labs, cell products were cryopreserved.
- Products remained in cold storage until requested by a transplant program, usually within one or two weeks.
- Products not yet infused remain in cold storage for future use.
The program was so successful and useful that Be The Match continues to support the transplant community with biobank and cryopreservation services.
Learn more by reviewing a comprehensive analysis and description of the study.