Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell Program

This page provides information on the Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell Program and its components.

Page last updated: 20 July 2018

Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell Program

Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell (HPC) therapy is a potentially lifesaving treatment for patients with a range of haematological or immune system conditions. HPCs are blood stem cells capable of self-renewal as well as differentiation and maturation into all blood cell types. They can be found in bone marrow, mobilised peripheral blood and in umbilical cord blood. Patients who require this treatment have typically received high doses of chemotherapy or irradiation which has destroyed their bone marrow, or they have bone marrow defects associated with their condition. HPC transplants aim to regenerate the marrow and blood systems. More information on HPC therapy can be found in the National Health and Medical Research Council fact sheet.

The Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) is funded by the Commonwealth to maintain the national donor registry and to coordinate searches of the national and international registries for a matching donor or cord blood unit for the treatment of patients. The ABMDR also administers the National Cord Blood Collection Network (NCBCN) which coordinates the collection and banking of umbilical cord blood. The NCBCN is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Health Departments.

Through the Haemopoietic Progenitor Cell Program (HPCP), the Commonwealth further supports the access of eligible Australian patients to HPC treatment by funding the International Searches Program (ISP) and the Bone Marrow Transplant Program (BMTP).

International Searches Programme (ISP)

Patients requiring HPC treatment need to be matched to a suitable donor. If a donor cannot be found in Australia, the ISP provides funding for the ABMDR to search international registries for a match for the patient.

Further information on the ISP can be found on the ABMDR website.

Bone Marrow Transplant Program (BMTP)

If a matched donor or cord blood unit is located internationally, the BMTP provides financial assistance to cover the cost of bringing the HPCs or the donor to Australia, for transplantation. This assistance is intended to cover costs outside Medicare arrangements and is administered by the Department of Health.

Applications for assistance under the BMTP are submitted by the treating hospital on behalf of the patient. To be eligible for assistance, patients must meet set criteria, including the following:
  • The patient must be a permanent resident of Australia
  • The patient must be eligible for assistance under Medicare (ie. must hold a current Medicare card)
  • A suitable donor is not available in Australia
  • There must be real prospect of success
  • The treatment must be life extending
  • The treatment must be beyond the experimental stage (ie. must be an accepted treatment modality)
A list of medical conditions for which HPC transplantation is a supported treatment option can be found on the ABMDR website.

The BMTP Guidelines are available in PDF and Word format.
BMTP Guidelines (PDF 348 KB)
BMTP Guidelines (Word 789 KB)

The BMTP Application for Funding is available in PDF and Word format.
BMTP Application for Funding (PDF 178 KB)
BMTP Application for Funding (Word 26 KB)

The BMTP Courier Reimbursement Form is available in PDF and Word format.
BMTP Courier Reimbursement Form (PDF 369 KB)
BMTP Courier Reimbursement Form (Word 503 KB)

The BMTP Related Donor Reimbursement Cover Sheet is available in PDF and Word format.
Related Donor Reimbursement Cover Sheet (PDF 144 KB)
Related Donor Reimbursement Cover Sheet (Word 37 KB)