What is Bone Marrow?
Bone marrow is a soft tissue found in the centre of certain bones in your body. It is this bone marrow which creates stem cells. Stem cells are the 'building blocks', which can grow into any of the other normal blood cells such as red cells, which carry oxygen, white cells, which fight infection, or platelets which stop bleeding.
What is a Bone Marrow Registry?
The BMCDT Bone Marrow registry is being started by the alumni of Bangalore Medical College as a service to the country and the South Asian peoples in general. It will develop a database of HLA typed donors of South Asian origin. The service will be connected to similar registries all over the world. The information on the registry will be offered to any patient needing a marrow transplant, free of cost.
Why do we need Bone Marrow donors?
There are a number of diseases that prevent a patient's bone marrow from working properly. These include benign diseases like thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia and malignant diseases like lymphoma and leukaemia. Although chemotherapy will successfully treat some of these patients, for many the only possibility of a cure is to have a stem cell transplant from a healthy donor. In about 30% of cases, a matched donor can be found from within the patient's family, such as a brother or sister.
The other 70% of patients have to rely on a matched volunteer donor, identified through Bone Marrow registries. The availability of donors from South Asian population is particularly low. We need to build a database of donors from the subcontinent. This is important, as finding a suitable match, whenever a bone marrow/stem cell transplant is needed, is often difficult due to the lack of appropriate volunteers on the Registry.