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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Blood Cell Transplant

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National Marrow Donor Program, a Program Contractor

The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) holds three of the contracts for the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program (Program):

  • Office of Patient Advocacy/Single Point of Access
  • Bone Marrow Coordinating Center
  • Cord Blood Coordinating Center

The NMDP has operated under Federal contract beginning in 1987 through the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry (NBMDR), and since September 2006 through the Program.

The NMDP is a nonprofit organization that helps people who need a potentially life-saving bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. The NMDP helps by connecting patients, doctors, donors, and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer, healthier lives.

On this page:

Program Components Work Together

A transplant from an unrelated marrow donor or cord blood unit involves many steps. Each step of the transplant process is in some way connected to the Office of Patient Advocacy/Single Point of Access, Bone Marrow Coordinating Center, or Cord Blood Coordinating Center. To make the steps connect smoothly, the NMDP has:

  • A network of national and international organizations, including transplant centers, cord blood banks, donor centers, recruitment centers, apheresis centers, and collection centers. These facilities follow procedures, standards, and criteria created by the NMDP.
  • An electronic search process (Single Point of Access) through the NMDP’s software applications that provides information on potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units throughout the world.
  • Procedures and policies to ensure that the safety, confidentiality, and rights of donors and patients are protected.
  • Staff and services to support patients and their families, from diagnosis through survivorship.
  • Outcomes data about donors and patients, which are made available to researchers and the public.

Program Requirements

As the contractor for three components of the Program (Office of Patient Advocacy/Single Point of Access, Bone Marrow Coordinating Center, and Cord Blood Coordinating Center), the NMDP board of directors exit disclaimer meets regularly. These meetings ensure the mission of the organization is carried out responsibly. Summaries of the meeting minutes are available at NMDP Board Meetings , as required by the contract.

Emergency Response Plans

The NMDP has developed and tested plans for keeping the organization working through emergencies, as required by the contract.

Standards and Criteria of NMDP Centers

Each year, the NMDP certifies to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that NMDP Standards  are in place and being followed at each NMDP center. As specified by the Program requirements, the NMDP is providing these standards and criteria to the public. Any significant change to a standard will be posted for public comment before the change is put into effect.

These standards include donor recruitment, collection and transportation procedures, as well as facility criteria. The facility criteria define specific characteristics of an NMDP center, the qualifications for its medical director and staff as well as the support services and policies and procedures that are required. Each center is also monitored for ongoing compliance. A center that does not comply with the standards may be removed from the NMDP's network.

The network is made up of these types of organizations:

  • Apheresis centers collect blood-forming cells from a donor's bloodstream (sometimes called peripheral blood stem cells or PBSC). To ensure the quality of donor care, each apheresis center in the network meets and maintains strict standards defined in Apheresis Center Participation Criteria (PDF) . A donor center representative will arrange the collection of PBSC at an apheresis center, which is usually located in a hospital or blood bank.
  • Collection centers collect bone marrow from donors. As always, donor safety is a primary concern and each NMDP collection center meets and maintains strict standards defined in Collection Center Participation Criteria (PDF) . A donor center representative will arrange the collection of bone marrow at a collection center, which is located in a hospital.
  • Cord blood banks collect, process, test, and store donated umbilical cord blood. To ensure the quality of each cord blood unit, every NMDP cord blood bank meets and maintains strict standards defined in Cord Blood Bank Participation Criteria (PDF) .
  • Donor centers help marrow donors throughout the donation process. Each NMDP donor center meets and maintains strict standards defined in Donor Center Participation Criteria (PDF) .
  • Recruitment centers recruit potential marrow donors, tell communities about the need for more donors, and raise funds to add more donors to the registry.  Each NMDP recruitment center meets and maintains strict standards defined in Recruitment Center Participation Criteria (PDF) .
  • Transplant centers conduct searches to find marrow donors and cord blood units that closely match their patients. Patients receive high quality treatment that meets the current standard of care for transplantation. Each NMDP transplant center meets and maintains strict standards defined in Transplant Center Participation Criteria (PDF) .
Network Centers
Safety and Confidentiality for Donors and Patients

All organizations in the Program protect patient and donors by following these standards: