History

The potential for cryopreservation of human cells was first realized in the late 1940s,1 when viability of sper-matocytes following long-term, ultra-low temperature storage in glycerol was initially reported. Approximately one decade later, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) was also shown to be an effective cyropreserving agent.2

Following successes in the development of myeloabla-tive chemotherapy, attempts to provide the clinical benefits of myeloablative therapy to patients who lacked histocompatible marrow donors were undertaken. The first report of autologous stem cell transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was published in the late 1970s by Gorin et al.3 This patient with AML had had marrow collected and cryopreserved at first remission that was thawed and reinfused following a myeloablative regimen at the time of first relapse. Fefer et al. reported a series of patients with refractory AML who underwent syngeneic donor transplants, and also demonstrated long-term relapse-free survival (RFS).4 A number of reports followed, utilizing first remission marrow for hematopoetic rescue after HDT for refractory AML, all demonstrating high response rates, but few cures. With these promising reports of activity, the procedure was moved earlier into the course of disease, at first or subsequent remission.

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