India Appeals for Stem Cell Donors to Battle Blood Disorders

May 30, 2024
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    Experts emphasize India's urgent requirement for stem cell donors to combat blood cancer, which claims the lives of over 70,000 individuals annually ().

    "Besides being the thalassemia capital of the world, India also has a high prevalence of blood cancers. Stem cell transplants are often the only curative option for these conditions, but finding a compatible stem cell match is difficult, especially in a country as genetically diverse as India," Dr Rahul Bhargava, Principal Director & Chief BMT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, told IANS.

    Expanding India's Stem Cell Donor Registry to Save Lives

    "In India, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer or a severe blood disorder every five minutes. Despite the global registry having over 41 million donors, India has only about 0.6 million registered. Thousands of patients are in dire need of matching stem cell donors to undergo life-saving transplants. We need to expand our donor database significantly to provide these patients with a fighting chance," added Patrick Paul, CEO of DKMS BMST Foundation India -- a non-profit.

    The experts also lamented the lack of awareness and misconceptions about the process of stem cell donation that leads to hesitancy to register as a donor.

    "Increased awareness and participation in donor registries are crucial to meeting this life-saving need. In simple terms, stem cell therapy uses stem cells to repair damaged tissues or organs or even to replace them entirely. It is used to treat some types of blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma," Dr Rahul said.

    The experts stated that matching for stem cell transplants is based on Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) characteristics, not just blood type. To become a potential stem cell donor, the criteria is to be a healthy adult aged between 18 and 55.

    1. Who can donate stem cells or bone marrow? - (


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