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Medical College to build $6M transplant database

Milwaukee, Wis. - The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin has won a contract worth $6,180,029 to collect and analyze standardized data on the outcomes of blood stem cell transplants that use cells from bone marrow or cord blood.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the funds through the Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database contract. It is part of a broader, $50 million program to support organ, tissue, bone marrow, cord blood, and circulating blood stem cell donations.

Dr. J. Douglas Rizzo, associate professor of medicine at MCW, said the contract funding will not pay for any data processing software applications. Most of the funding will be used for data entry and other coordinating functions of collecting and analyzing the outcomes.

"I think it's an exciting opportunity for the field of transplantation to bring together the data collection in one mechanism, which I think is a better thing for the field of hematopoietic cell transplants," Rizzo said. "I think that represents a good thing for the community of transplant physicians - and since the whole purpose is to analyze outcomes of patients to improve outcomes, I think that will eventually offer promise for patients as well."

Research partners
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The CIBMTR is a research partnership formed through an affiliation of the college's International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry and the National Marrow Donor Program. Transplants of bone marrow, blood-forming cells collected from blood (called peripheral blood stem cells), and umbilical cord blood can save the lives of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases.

Under HRSA's C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program enacted by Congress in 2005, the CIBMTR will collect and maintain a standardized database of marrow and cord blood transplants performed in the U.S.

The program now requires that all U.S. transplant centers performing these transplants provide patient outcome data to the new national Stem Cell Therapeutic Outcomes Database, which will contain information to continually evaluate the program's operations and the status of transplant recipients.

Estimated funding for the first two-year period of this contract is $6 million, with an additional four years of negotiable funding.

Since 1972, the CIBMTR has collected outcomes data provided voluntarily by hundreds of transplant centers worldwide on more than 10,000 patients per year. The center has made the data available to investigators and physicians worldwide.

Dr. Mary Horowitz, chief scientific director of the CIBMTR and the Robert A. Uihlein Professor of Hematologic Research at MCW, said the outcomes database will provide physicians, scientists, and patients with the information they need to make the best possible clinical decisions.

Data covers both allogeneic and autologous (patient's own cells) hematopoietic stem cell transplants. Hematopoietic stem cells are the cells responsible for continual regeneration of circulating blood cells throughout life; they are not embryonic stem cells.

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