Science and Research

Science and research at DKMS: fighting blood cancer on all levels

Innovative research and new scientific approaches are key in the treatment of blood cancer.


DKMS is heavily involved in medical science through our:

  • highly qualified research team
  • high-performance laboratory, the DKMS Life Science Lab
  • quality programmes and various research programmes.

With this multifaceted approach, we are fighting blood cancer from every possible angle. We are constantly on a mission to provide more people with blood cancer and blood disorders a second chance at life.

When it comes to blood cancer, there are still many unanswered questions. We are investing in and conducting our own research to make blood stem cell transplants a lasting success for patients.

John Hansen Research Grant

John A. Hansen, who gave the grants their name, was an outstanding oncologist and excellent immunogeneticist. Hansen died on 31 July 2019 at the age of 76.

Supporting and promoting young researchers is an important part of our work.

The John Hansen Research Grant, known from 2015 to 2019 as the Mechtild Harf Research Grant, is awarded annually to up to four talented young scientific researchers.

Mechtild Harf Science Award

Mechtilde Harf

In 2001, the DKMS Foundation for Giving Life (DKMS Stiftung Leben Spenden) introduced the Mechtild Harf Science Award.

Presented each year at the Congress of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT),
this prestigious award recognises outstanding research achievements in the field of blood cancer treatment.

Clinical Trials Unit


The DKMS Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) drives scientific progress in the fight against blood cancer, launching innovative, lifesaving research projects and supporting existing ones.

Our research focuses on allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation, where the cells come from an unrelated donor. This means much of our work is in an area that is of little interest to the pharmaceutical industry, and therefore under-resourced.

Quality programmes

Image showing female scientist analysing laboratory specimens

The more efficiently we work, the faster patients can be treated.

DKMS is constantly striving to develop and improve the quality and quantity of the DKMS database and the donor data it holds. The database has been significantly improved by the development of our own search algorithm.

DKMS Life Science Lab

The DKMS Life Science Lab, the global leader in HLA typing, analyses cheek swabs or blood samples from potential stem cell donors around the world.

In line with regulatory expectations, the DKMS Life Science Lab is accredited by ASHI and EFI. The lab is the world's most innovative and efficient HLA tissue typing laboratory of its kind. Our experts carry out typing according to the latest scientific standards, continuously expanding typing profiles. The state-of-the-art workflow enables the analysis of over one million samples per year.

DKMS Stem Cell Bank

The DKMS Stem Cell Bank is an important resource when it comes to helping patients worldwide even faster.
Often the amount of blood stem cells taken from a donor exceeds the needs of the patient who requires them for the transplantation. With the donor's consent, these surplus cells are frozen, or cryopreserved, rather than disposed of.

This means the stem cells are available to blood cancer patients worldwide for a possible further life-saving transplantation. This way our donors can potentially save two lives with one donation. We will inform our donors who are eligible for a stored donation in the DKMS Stem Cell Bank in advance and ask for an additional declaration of consent.

DKMS Registry

DKMS was founded in 1991 as a donor centre and in 2015 established its donor registry. Listing on the registry means storing information on our donors’ tissue characteristics in pseudonymised form and making them available for worldwide searches for the best possible match between donor and patient.

The DKMS Registry has operated as an independent subsidiary of DKMS since 2020.

As an official registry, we have been listing DKMS-BMST donors from India since 2015 and DKMS donors from Chile since 2018.

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