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 Stem cell transplantation unit

Contact information​

Street address

Tyks, T-hospital
(building 18)
Main entrance,
D Wing, 7th floor
Hämeentie 11, Turku


02 313 1015


02 313 3043

Postal address

PO Box 52, 20521 Turku

Stem cell transplant unit is a part of Hematology section.

 Stem cell transplantation unit

  • Overview
  • Our Activity in Numbers
  • Scientific Research

Stem cell donor

Hematological diseases may be treated with medicines or stem cell transplantation. The stem cells are cells produced by the bone marrow. All blood cells develop from the stem cells. A stem cell transplantation is a procedure by which stem cells collected from the circulating blood or from the bone marrow are given by infusion to the patient.

Stem cells may be collected from

  • the patient him/herself – this is called an autologous stem cells transplantation.
  • a family member or an unknown, suitable, registered volunteer donor – this is called an allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

At our unit we perform allogeneic as well as autologous stem cell transplantations.

Experience and Quality matters

We were the first in Finland, in 1991, to perform a stem cell transplantation with peripheral blood stem cells. For this, we had refined the technique of collecting peripheral blood stem cells by apheresis (stem cell apheresis). Our center was also the first in Finland to perform haploidentical stem cell transplantation, in which a healthy first-degree relative – a parent, sibling, child or even close relative– can serve as a donor. Actually, we perform the largest number in Finland of haploidentical stem cell transplantations.

We perform more than 100 stem cell transplantations each year. At European level we are categorized as medium-sized transplant center.

We have, since 2006, maintained an international accreditation status of quality standards JACIE/EBMT; this, in itself, proves the high standards of work done at our stem cell transplantation unit.

Our unit has been appointed as "Center of Excellence" by The Hospital District of Southwest Finland.

Our personnel working under the leadership of the Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation program is a highly experienced team of experts who have worked in this field for many years. We present our personnel on the webpage of Hematology section.

The Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation program is Prof. Maija Itälä-Remes, chief physician.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantations

The stem cell transplantation unit at the Tyks University Hospital is one of the two national stem cell transplantation units in Finland where complicated allogeneic stem cell transplantations are carried out with stem cells collected from healthy, unrelated donors to manage patients with difficult-to-treat haematological conditions.

The donor can be

  • HLA-identical sibling. This is always a primary choice.
  • haploidentical donor. Donation practices have recently been modified and instead of HLA-identical match, donors for a haploidentical transplant need be only a 50 percent match to the recipient. This means that now it is possible for first-degree relatives, under specified conditions, to donate stem cells. Thus, a parent may donate to a child and vice versa. Haplo donor can also be from extended family members such as aunts, uncles or even cousins. These transplantations are called haploidentical haematopoietic stem cell transplantations.
  • voluntary unrelated HLA-identical donor. A suitable donor will usually be identified through searches in international stem cell donor registers. These registers have a database of some 30 million voluntary donors. Through a computer search of this database it is possible to identify a suitable stem cell donor. In Finland, the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service maintains a stem cell registry of some 40,000 donors.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantations are usually used to treat acute leukemias and Stem cell transplantmyelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Patients from all of Finland are referred to us for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. If the treatment is carried out in some other language than Finnish, Swedish or English, interpretation services are available at a fee.

Autologous stem cell transplantations

In an autologous transplant, patient's own blood-forming stem cells are collected. Patient is then treated with high doses of chemotherapy. The high-dose treatment kills the cancer cells, but it also gets rid of the blood-producing cells that are left in the bone marrow. Afterward, the collected stem cells are put back into patient's bloodstream, allowing the bone marrow to produce new blood cells.

Autologous stem cell transplantations are usually performed to treat myeloma and lymphoma.

All autologous stem cell transplantations within the area of special responsibility of the Turku University Hospital are performed at our stem cell transplantation unit.


Stem cell transplantation unit is located in the T-Hospital, D wing, 7th floor, in conjunction with the hematology ward.


The patient rooms of the ward are of the highest standard: There are 10 single rooms and 4 rooms for two patients each.

All patient rooms have large, bright windows and are equipped with a refrigerator, television, wireless web and a nurse-call system. Each room has toilet and shower facilities.

Lobby at the hematology wardStem cell transplantation and treatments put a significant strain on the human body and this results in reduced immunity to diseases for a long time. Patients who have received an allogeneic stem cell transplant will always get at our ward a comfortable single room which can be used as isolation room if needed. The purpose of the isolation is to protect the patient form external contagious disease.

Isolation does not limit the visiting hours. Relatives and guests of the patients in the single room have free visiting hours at our ward. Visits are prohibited only if the visitors have any contagious disease including the cold and the flu.

People in charge

Director of the stem cell transplantation program Prof. Maija Itälä-Remes, tel 02 313 0016.

Head nurse Johanna Karukivi, tel. 02 313 2015.




Save lives – donate! Here you may read more about the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service Stem Cell Register.

Logo of Stem cell registry. Clicking the picture takes you to Finnish Red Cross' web page.

National patient network:
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation patient network

​Activity of Stem Cell Transplant unit: some statistics

Number of transplants performed, descriptive text is below the picture.

Number of the stem cell transplants performed year 2021:
Allogeneic transplants 64
Autologous transplants 38
In total 102 transplants.

 Statistics, descriptive text is below the picture.   

Year 2021
Donor type in allogeneic stem cell transplants:
HLA-matched sibling donors 19 %
Haploidentical donors 55 %
HLA-matched unrelated donors 26 %

Number of apheresis: 115 (both allogeneic and autologous apheresis)

Stem cells

Stem cell transplantation research helps to improve the quality of the patient care. Our research unit performs both basic research and clinical trials. We participate in various national and especially international research projects. We utilise the data extracted and experience gained from these studies in our patient work.

HaploMUDStudy – the main study

HaploMUDStudy is multicenter, multinational European phase II trial. Coordinating Investigator is Prof. Nicolaus Kröger from University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, German. The clinical trial is supported financially by German Bone Marrow Donor File (DKMS).

This comparative clinical trial evaluates whether blood stem cell transplantation from a not fully matched family donor (haploidentical donor) results in a lower leukemia relapse rate compared with stem cell transplantation from a matched unrelated donor.

We are the only research unit in Finland participating in this trial since we have experience required in this new treatment modality, i.e haploidentical stem cell transplantations.
Primary objectivesis to compare anti-leukemic activity of allogeneic stem cell transplantation for patients with acute leukemia in complete remission between a 10/10 HLA matched unrelated donor and a haploidentical donor.

Secondary objectives are to assess and compare the safety and efficacy of study treatments therapy in both study arms on non-relapse mortality (NRM), relapse-free survival (RFS), Overall survival (OS), QOL, toxicity, development of acute and chronic GvDH as well as engraftment and chimerism and impact of measurable residual disease.

If the outcomes using haploidentical stem cell transplantation proved to be at least as a good as using matched unrelated donor (MUD) stem cell transplantation, the trial would significantly change the treatment practices.

HaploMUDStudy: Matched Unrelated vs. Haploidentical Donor for Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients with Acute Leukemia with Identical GVHD Prophylaxis – A Randomized Prospective European Trial. EudraCT-No. 2017-002331-41.

International Registry studies

Our Stem Cell Transplantation unit has from the beginning of its activities contributed to the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) registry by reporting the outcome data of our stem cell therapy. Nowadays this reporting activity is one of the requirements for the accreditation. We participate in several registry studies which have already had and will have an important impact on epidemiological surveillance, evaluation of the disease and treatment outcomes.

People in charge

Head of the research unit is prof. Maija Itälä-Remes, email

Research Coordinator Jaana Pakola, phone 02 3139142, email

Päivitetty: 03/06/2022 09:55