Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bone marrow registry

Bone marrow is the fluidy substance present in side the bones.This is an important organ which produces blood cells and is home for stem cells. Stem cells are the progenitor cells of all the cells that are present in our body and have the capacity to transform into any cell. Though present in small numbers in the normal marrow they can proliferate as the need arises. For many sufferers from life threatening conditions like leukemia [blood cancer] the only hope is to get these cells from a compatible donor. The compatibility is determined by a process called tissue matching or HLA matching. Unlike blood group testing, HLA typing involves lot of sophistication and is therefore expensive.

So,how will the sufferer find a donor whose HLA type matches with his HLA? Here in lies the major problem of enlisting the donor and this enlistment is called bone marrow registry. It is estimated that to get one match one needs to have 20,000 donors registered. An intending donor who wants to donate his bone marrow need not apprehend that his bone marrow will be taken out. Neither at the time of registration nor at the time of transplant will one will put a needle into his bone. What is done is that at the time of registration a sample of his blood[5ml] or his saliva/buccal swab] is taken and his HLA is typed. When it is found that his HLA type matches with that of one who is in need, he will be called to donate. Even at this time, which may come once in his life time or not at all,he will be given some injections to mobilize the stem cells from his bone to his blood and these cells are harvested by a specialized machine by a process called pheresis. He will have spend a day in the institution and there by saving a life or giving the recipient a prolonged disease free life.
In countries like China, Germany and the US,there are established registries with large number of donors and getting a match is not very difficult. But in our country there are very few registries with very small numbers of donors

Keeping this dire need in mind, and the knowledge of many young lives being lost[an estimated 50,000 deaths every year], Bangalore medical college alumni association has launched a massive donor registration programme. The cost of HLA typing which normally costs more that 10,000 Rs is being offset by the funds raised by the alumni and the details as to how and what of the whole process can be got from visiting the dedicated website bonemarrow

I request all of you who read my blog to spread the word around and involve in this noble cause

1 comment:

JP said...

Such a complex topic so nicely simplified. Congrats & thanks