A haploidentical transplant is a type of allogeneic transplant. It uses healthy, blood-forming cells from a half- matched donor to replace the unhealthy ones. The donor is typically a family member.
For allogeneic transplants, your doctor tests your blood to find out your human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type. HLA is a protein — or marker — found on most cells in your body. Doctors look for a donor or umbilical cord blood that closely matches your HLA.
But sometimes they can’t find a close HLA match. Then, a haploidentical transplant may be an option. This is a type of allogeneic transplant where the donor matches exactly half of your HLA.
A haploidentical, or half-matched, donor is usually your mom, your dad or your child. Parents are always a half-match for their children. Siblings (brothers or sisters) have a 50% (1 out of 2) chance of being a half-match for each other. It’s very unlikely that other family members (like cousins, aunts or uncles) would be a half-match.
A haploidentical transplant is a newer type of transplant. This means:
- You may have the option to join a clinical trial (research study).
- Not all transplant centers will do this type of transplant.
Questions to ask your doctor
- Is a haploidentical transplant an option for me?
- What are the risks and benefits of transplant from a haploidentical donor compared to other types of transplant?
- How much experience does this transplant center have doing haploidentical transplants?
- What are the typical results for patients at this center who have had a transplant from a half-matched donor?
- Is there a haploidentical transplant clinical trial that I could join?
- Which family member would be my half-matched donor? What does that person have to do?
Questions to ask your health insurance company
- Does my policy pay for:
- An allogeneic transplant from a haploidentical donor?
- Care in a haploidentical transplant clinical trial?
- My family member’s bone marrow or stem cell collection?
If you have questions about whether haploidentical transplant is right for you, talk with your transplant doctor. Every person’s situation is different, and your transplant doctor can help you make choices about your treatment.