Canterbury DHB



In This Section

Historical Background

Stem Cell Grafting in Christchurch


Key Events of the Stem Cell Programme in Christchurch

Transplant Activity

Historical Background

Experimental and clinical studies beginning in the 1950s defined many of the problems inherent in stem cell transplantation. Successful stem cell transplants, pioneered mainly by the Seattle group led by Professor Donnall Thomas, were made possible by the definition of the HLA system, improvements in supportive care, and by the ability to control, to some extent, GvHD. The routine use of allografts for patients with leukaemia was introduced in the mid-1970s.

Further reading:

Stem Cell Grafting in Christchurch

The first allograft to be done in Christchurch took place in April 1979 on a child with Aplastic Anaemia. The first autograft was done in 1986. To date (July 2014), 1051 stem cell transplants have been carried out.

An informal group of staff from Haematology and Paediatrics carried out the initial transplant. During the 1980s, the Bone Marrow Transplant Committee became established, and in 1991, the South Island Bone Marrow Transplant Unit was established with funding coming mainly from the South Island Bone Marrow Transplant Trust (SIBMT) with support from the Hospital Boards in the South Island and Government.

Details of the SIBMT Trust and the fundraising activities that led to the building of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, the Accommodation Facility (Ranui House), and Research Laboratories are shown in the History of SIBMT Trust.

Since 1979, details of our transplant activity have been reported to the CIBMTR database, and more recently to the EBMT and ABMTR registries.


Refer to Publications from the Christchurch Stem Cell Transplant Programme.

Key Events of the Stem Cell Programme in Christchurch


First allogeneic bone marrow transplant (HLA identical sibling for severe aplastic anaemia).


First autologous BMT (AML).


First auto transplant for lymphoma.

Second allogeneic BMT procedure for treatment of relapse following first Allo BMT.


First partially matched related donor transplant.


First auto transplant for neuroblastoma.


First matched unrelated donor (MUD) transplant.

First transplant for myeloma (allogeneic).

First autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT).


Donor leucocyte infusions (DLI) for relapsed CML.


First purged (mafosfamide) auto BMT for AML.

Auto BMT extended to germ cell and other solid tumours.


World first syngeneic PBSCT for severe Aplastic Anaemia.


First auto transplant for breast cancer.

First HLA identical sibling PBSCT.


First cord blood transplant.

Use of DLI for myeloma relapse post Allo BMT.

First auto transplant for amyloidosis.


First RIC (Reduced Intensity Conditioning) SCT.


First unrelated donor SCT for severe aplastic anaemia.

First RIC SCT for B-cell CLL.

First allogeneic SCT for myelofibrosis.

First unrelated RIC SCT for AML.


First unrelated RIC SCT for Hodgkin Lymphoma.


First double cord transplant.


First Adult RIC double cord transplant.


First haplo-identical transplant using post-transplant cyclophosphamide


FACT accreditation


Move to new BMTU in Waipapa building in Christchurch Hospital.

Transplant Activity

Transplants performed by HSCT program

About this Canterbury DHB document (7967):

Document Owner:

Andrew Butler (see Who's Who)

Last Reviewed:

December 2016

Next Review:

December 2018


Note: Only the electronic version is controlled. Once printed, this is no longer a controlled document. Disclaimer

Topic Code: 7967