New Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research

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 W. 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.

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