Demand for collection procedures hits new high

The demand for transplant material from unrelated donors in Switzerland rose to a new high in 2022.

Demand for Swiss donors for patients both in Switzerland and abroad increased in 2022. The frequency of collection procedures, which had hovered at around one donation per week for quite some time, rose to almost two collections per week.

When a person listed in the Swiss registry comes up as a possible donor, Swiss Transfusion SRC arranges for confirmatory typing to verify their HLA markers. In 2022, confirmatory typing was performed for 325 individuals (2021: 271), i.e. the number of requests rose by almost 20 per cent compared to 2021.

In 2022, 89 procedures were performed on Swiss donors to collect blood stem cells for unrelated recipients; that is 24, i.e. almost a third , more than in 2021 (65). Two of these were secondary collections, meaning that two persons returned to donate a second time. Six of the procedures were performed in order to collect material for patients in Switzerland (2021: 3). There were fewer cord blood units from Switzerland (4) used in transplant procedures (2021: 7). Overall, a new record was set for the number of blood stem cell donations provided.

Most of the collection procedures involved persons who had been added to the register within the last few years. This is why it is important to recruit new young donors.

From the search to the provision

Swiss Transfusion SRC searches for suitable donors for patients in Switzerland and throughout the world. In 2022, it received 252 search requests from Swiss transplant centres, compared to 246 in 2021, thus confirming the upward trend in incoming search requests.

Once a definitive decision on a donor has been made, arrangements must be made to get their blood stem cells to the patient at the right time. Swiss Transfusion SRC liaises between the collection and transplant centres and is responsible for seeing that the transplant material arrives precisely on schedule. This includes arranging the transport of transplant material for Swiss patients collected from unrelated donors, the vast majority of whom do not live in Switzerland.

In 2022, Swiss Transfusion SRC received a total of 417 “work-up requests” (2021: 397), i.e. requests to arrange for transplant procedures for patients in Switzerland or for collection procedures involving Swiss donors. About 20-30 per cent of all work-up requests are subsequently cancelled, sometimes by the donor, sometimes by the patient.

More initial transplant procedures for unrelated patients

A total of 287 transplant procedures (2021: 285) were performed in Switzerland in 2022, transplanting material collected from unrelated donors (175) or from relatives (112). Among the procedures involving unrelated donors, 168 were initial transplant procedures, (2021: 150) and 7 were secondary procedures (2021: 8).

In 2022, 128 patients underwent CAR T cell therapy in Switzerland (2020: 94), which is three times the total for 2019 (43). CAR T cell therapies involve the use of genetic engineering techniques to modify immune cells so that they will recognise and attack cancer cells. The patient’s own immune cells (T cells) are taken from their blood, modified in the laboratory and then infused back into the patient.


«Auxin» project on course

«Auxin» is a project launched in late 2020 to review and optimise existing processes, tools and methods. Following an intensive and valuable analysis phase and a subsequent process to define the target state on the basis of its results, the search for an appropriate tool meeting all of our requirements began in 2022. The company mimacom, selected at the end of a three-stage tender process, will be developing the individual software for us. It will be based on the workflow tool “Flowable”. In December, the Board approved the business case and cost ceiling for the implementation. Thus the journey down the path of digital transformation is proceeding according to plan. The process “Search for Swiss donors” will be developed starting in March 2023 as the first implementation.