Special issues related to hematopoietic SCT in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the first regional activity report
Although several centers are now performing allogeneic hematopoietic SCT (HSCT) in the Eastern Mediterranean (EM) region, the availability is still limited. Special issues including compatible donor availability and potential for alternative donor programs are discussed. In comparison to Europe and North America, differences in patterns of diseases and pre-HSCT general status, particularly for patients with BM failure, are described. Other differences including high sero-positivity for CMV, hepatitis B and C infection, and specific observations about GVHD and its relation to genetically homogeneous communities are also discussed. We report that a total of 17 HSCT programs (performing five or more HSCTs annually) exist in 9 countries of the EM region. Only six programs are currently reporting to European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation or Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation Research. A total of 7617 HSCTs have been performed by these programs including 5701 allogeneic HSCTs. The area has low-HSCT team density (1.56 teams per 10 million inhabitants vs 14.43 in Europe) and very low-HSCT team distribution (0.27 teams per 10000 sq km area vs < 1-6 teams in Europe). Gross national income per capita had no clear association with low-HSCT activity. Much improvement in infrastructure and formation of an EM regional HSCT registry are needed.