New research center created by leading blood and marrow transplant organizations

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In their mission to improve transplant access and outcomes for patients, the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) and the Medical College of Wisconsin’s International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry and Autologous Blood and Marrow Transplant Registry (IBMTR/ABMTR) have created the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR.)

The partnership takes effect July 1, 2004, bringing together the two organizations’ extensive expertise and unique resources in the areas of blood and marrow transplantation, biostatistics and clinical cancer research. The new center is expected to greatly expand research activities during the next five years to increase scientific knowledge regarding blood and marrow transplantation through:

  • Prospective, multi-center trial design and implementation to explore new strategies to increase the safety and success of transplantation
  • Retrospective studies of the world’s largest blood and marrow transplant databases and tissue sample repositories to identify the most promising transplant approaches and the patients most likely to benefit from this therapy
  • Research in immunobiology to better understand how transplantation works including how to harness the power of the immune system to control cancer
  • Transplant-focused biostatistics expertise to assist researchers in accessing, analyzing and presenting scientific studies
  • Research to improve access to health care services

“The CIBMTR will combine complementary capabilities of two leading organizations in blood and marrow transplantation to provide a single point of focus for development and support of transplant-related clinical research,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chell, NMDP chief executive officer. “The new center creates a structure that better enables transplant researchers to efficiently pursue multi-center clinical trials and other important transplant research, ultimately, to save more patients’ lives.”

Dr. Mary Horowitz, scientific director of the IBMTR/ABMTR at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said, “This partnership will make it easier to design, conduct and support clinical studies that involve large numbers of patients from multiple transplant centers – the types of studies that are needed to answer critical questions in the field of blood and marrow transplantation.”

Specifically, the CIBMTR will:

  • Define key areas for future research in collaboration with leading scientists, physicians and others in the blood and marrow transplant community
  • Secure critical research funding through partnerships with government, industry and other private parties
  • Design and implement clinical studies
  • Offer expertise for the application of biostatistics, database development and study design in blood and marrow transplant
  • Make available research resources including the world’s largest clinical database of related blood and marrow transplants, along with repositories of thousands of matched tissue samples from transplant recipients and their donors – including significant numbers of samples for many rare diseases

"This is a collaboration that has great potential for patients, donors and health professionals," said Armand Keating, M.D., president of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.  "The new alliance between the IBMTR/ABMTR and the NMDP creates a center for transplant research that will help accelerate the development of transplant therapies, with corresponding improvements in treatment outcomes."

This partnership is built on previous successful collaborations.  With the EMMES Corporation, the NMDP and the IBMTR/ABMTR serve as the data and coordinating center of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN), a NIH-funded research consortium that conducts clinical trials in more than 50 transplant centers.

Dr. Horowitz will serve as scientific director of the CIBMTR; Dr. Chell will serve as executive director.  The organization will be located at the joint campuses – at the international headquarters of the NMDP in Minneapolis and at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  Initial plans call for the additional hiring of 24 persons to join the research teams at both sites.

The National Marrow Donor Program®

The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) is a nonprofit organization that is committed to its mission to extend and improve life through innovative cell therapies.  The NMDP has facilitated more than 18,000 blood and marrow transplants throughout the world for patients with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and aplastic anemia, as well as certain immune system and genetic disorders. The NMDP offers searching patients who do not have suitable family donors a single point of access for all three types of blood stem cells used in transplantation: marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood.  Through its extensive U.S.and international Network, the NMDP maintains the world’s largest and most diverse Registry of 5.2 million potential volunteer donors, including more than 30,000 cord blood units. Matching donors to patients is only part of the NMDP's life-saving mission. The organization also provides support for patients and physicians and conducts research studies aimed at increasing opportunities for and improving the outcomes of cellular transplant therapies. For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit online at:

The Medical College of Wisconsin

Located in Milwaukee, the Medical College of Wisconsin is a private, academic institution dedicated to leadership and excellence.  As a major national research center, Medical College of Wisconsin faculty received nearly $119 million in external support for research and training in fiscal year 2002-2003. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health ranked the MedicalCollege44th among the nation's medical schools for NIH research funding amounting to $76.7 million, placing the College in the top 35 percent.

The faculty conducts more than 1,500 research studies annually in all areas of medicine. More than 40 invention disclosures from College faculty and students were received and 20 U.S.patent applications were filed for commercialization products. The MedicalCollegeis home to nine federally designated national and international research centers. More than 700 faculty physicians with the Medical College of Wisconsin provide adult andpediatric care to more than 260,000 patients, representing over one million patient visits annually.

The IBMTR/ABMTR is a Division of the Health Policy Institute of the MedicalCollege.  Established in 1972, the IBMTR/ABMTR collects, manages and analyzes clinical outcome data on blood and marrow transplants performed in more than 400 centers in 47 countries.  The IBMTR/ABMTR database currently has information on more than 180,000 transplant recipients; its scientific committees include many of the world’s leading authorities on blood and marrow transplantation.  IBMTR/ABMTR data and expertise have led to over 250 publications in the biomedical literature.  More information about the IBMTR/ABMTR can be found on line at: 


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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