Stem Cell Registry

The Stem Cell Registry has two main tasks. The first is to keep a register of healthy voluntary stem cell donors in Finland and Estonia. The second is to be responsible for the supply chain for stem cell grafts collected from donors in the Registry, from finding a suitable donor to the delivery of the stem cells to where they are needed.

A young person holding saliva sample collection kit.

The Registry works closely with the stem cell transplant centres in Helsinki and Turku University hospitals, New Children’s Hospital, the Estonian stem cell transplant centre, independent doctors performing physical examinations on donors, as well as the HUS haematology clinic responsible for stem cell collections in Finland.

As no country is self-sufficient in terms of donors, graft deliveries require international collaboration. The Stem Cell Registry therefore also works with all other stem cell registries in the world and their partner organisation, the World Marrow Donor Association.

The Stem Cell Registry must constantly evolve to have enough young donors. The target was met in 2023 with record-breaking numbers, as 7,513 new members joined the Registry, bringing the total number to 72,976. The Finnish Stem Cell Registry members are highly committed to helping others, which is crucial for patient care.

The Stem Cell Registry delivered 156 grafts during the year, which is an exceptionally high number. A decade ago 70% of the grafts delivered were from a donor abroad to a patient in Finland or Estonia. Now only about 50% of the grafts were delivered from abroad. More than one in three patients who received a graft in Finland last year through a registry received it from a domestic donor. In total, Finnish Registry members donated stem cells as many as 70 times in 2023, which is a quarter more than ever before.

Grafts delivered by the Stem Cell Registry

There are various ways to collect stem cells from donors. Harvesting the cells from the donor's bloodstream is by far the most common method.

Grafts supplied, total202120222023
Bone marrow graft231416
Blood stem cell graft10787126
Cord blood graft101
Lymphocyte graft17913

The Stem Cell Registry operates internationally. The Blood Service’s couriers bring in stem cell grafts from abroad as well as deliver grafts collected from Finnish donors to foreign patients. In 2023 our couriers delivered grafts 64 times.

Location of the donor and the patient202120222023
From a Finnish donor to a patient in Finland332236
From a donor abroad to a patient in Finland785770
From a Finnish donor to a patient abroad192234