Bangalore Medical Service Trust (BMST), a centre of excellence in the areas of blood banking, transfusion and immunohematology in Bengaluru has partnered with DKMS a non-profit organisation dedicated to fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders. The partnership will provide a large pool of potential blood stem cell donors for patients suffering from blood cancer and other blood disorders.
Dr Biju George, Head, Department of Haematology, CMC Vellore said, “Every five minutes someone in India is diagnosed with blood cancer and other blood disorders wherein leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma are the top three forms to be found. While blood cancer is life-threatening, a set of healthy blood stem cells from a matching donor can be life-saving”.
The registry DKMS-BMST at present has over 27,000 registered potential blood stem cell donors. This number will increase considerably over the years with the aim of finding a matching donor for every patient in need.
Highlighting the impact of the myths that exist in India, Dr Latha Jagannathan, Medical Director, Managing Trustee, BMST said, “Many patients suffering from blood cancer and other blood disorders need a blood stem cell transplant to survive. Unfortunately the majority of patients are never able to receive a transplant due to the unavailability of a matching blood stem cell donor. In India, only 0.03 per cent of the total population is registered as a potential blood stem cell donor. This is significantly lower than many other countries including the US where 2.7 per cent and Germany where 10 per cent of the population is registered as a potential donor. A lack of understanding and multiple baseless misconceptions existing amongst people about the process, impacts the cause. It is high time that we all overcome this and commit to being a life saver to save our children”.
“Every year, about 80,000 donor searches are initiated across the globe. Mainly due to the lack of a matching donor, India has one of the highest ratios of searches that do not result in transplantation. At DKMS, we are working to find a donor for every patient in need and require your support in achieving the same here in India. Through this venture with BMST, we are delighted to be able to save many more lives, but we still need to do more. Indian patients mainly require an Indian tissue match which means that we need to increase the awareness and encourage many more people in India to register as a blood stem cell donor. It only takes a few minutes to register as a potential donor. All that is required is a simple swab of the inside of your cheeks to determine your HLA characteristics – so please come forward and join the registry”, said Dr Elke Neujahr, Global Chief Operating Officer, DKMS.