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Our History

In pursuit of a mission to improve transplantation access and outcomes for patients, the CIBMTR was established in July 2004. The new organization joined together the research programs of the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) and the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry (IBMTR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry

In 1972, just four years after the first successful hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), pioneers in the field of HCT realized the significance of what they were undertaking. Several of the pioneers in this evolving science also understood the importance of collaborating to better understand the data being generated at individual centers. Dr. Mortimer M. Bortin and several colleagues established the IBMTR at the Medical College of Wisconsin to do just that. Physicians in the field agreed to voluntarily contribute their patient data to this outcomes registry. At the time, there were only about 12 transplant centers and fewer than 50 patients per year worldwide receiving a transplant.

“In an era when the term ‘outcomes research’ had yet to be coined, these forward-thinking scientists knew the power of combining data and expertise to accelerate development of the field.”

Dr. Mary Horowitz, Scientific Director Emeritus, CIBMTR MCW

Over the years, the dedication and collaboration of those pioneers is reflected in the remarkable growth of this unique international collaboration. The IBMTR, with the later addition of the Autologous Blood and Marrow Transplant Registry (ABMTR), expanded to include a large network of transplant centers in more than 30 countries. This worldwide database now includes data on more than 600,000 patients.

National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)

In 1986, the U.S. Navy established the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry with one full-time employee housed at St. Paul, MN, American Red Cross, and a sub-contract with the University of Minnesota for computer support and data management. The first donor search was processed in September 1987, and the first NMDP-facilitated transplant took place in December 1987.

Again, the founders knew the critical nature of collecting outcomes data and conducting collaborative research to improve outcomes, requiring from that very first unrelated transplant that transplant centers report their patient outcomes to the NMDP.

Two Leaders Join

These two leading organizations in transplantation outcomes research were providing leadership and tools to drive improvements in survival. But at the same time, transplant centers needed to contribute outcomes data to two entities and valuable opportunities for synergism in these research efforts were being lost.

So in July 2004, in the spirit of collaboration that drove those first pioneers, the IBMTR and NMDP research programs came together to form one comprehensive program. CIBMTR now brings the combined strength of the two organizations to address the most critical issues in HCT.

Last Updated: 1/21/2022 2:16 PM