Are you a Stem Cell Donor?

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Are you a Stem Cell Donor?

Are you a Stem Cell Donor?

India, the 2nd most populous country in the world, enjoys the dubious distinction of having the 3rd highest number of people suffering from blood cancer; 2.1 per 100,000!

For this significant number of people diagnosed with diseases such as Aplastic Anaemia, Thalassemia, Leukaemia and the like, a Bone Marrow Transplant is the only hope and viable course of treatment.

In a world of increasing nuclear families where single children or two children are becoming the norm, the chances of finding a donor amongst siblings is 30%. This reduces to zero in a single child family. Moreover, 70% of patients who require a Bone Marrow Transplant are unlikely to find a donor within the family.

Luckily, advancements in medical science have ensured that one can find an unrelated donor who is a match from across the world.

However, to take advantage of this scientific breakthrough, the need of the hour is a comprehensive system of Stem Cell Registries.

While a number of countries have recognised this need and have been proactive in setting up such Registries, such as the US NMDP which has 22.5 million registered donors and saves thousands of lives every year.

Ironically, India’s representation on these Registries is practically negligible.

A start has been made in India to address this huge need through the efforts of organisations such as DATRI and the Arjan Vir Foundation. However, with the huge ethnic and cultural diversity of the country, we need many more registries. Moreover, we need to raise awareness, break myths and sensitise people to the importance and ease of Stem Cell Donation, which requires just 300 ml of blood from the donor

We also need to change mindsets and overcome the resistance to organ donation.

Slowly and surely, a revolution has begun. We now have to ensure that the impetus is not lost.