To increase public awareness regarding stem cell donation and the need to register as voluntary donors, the Being Human Foundation has joined hands with the Marrow Donor Registry, India to spread awareness about marrow donation.
At present, India does not have a functional unrelated stem cell donor registry. Any patient who requires a bone marrow transplant and does not have an HLA-matched related donor will need to search the international registries for a potential donor.
The cost of procuring stem cells from an unrelated donor from international registries is about Rs 15-20 lakh. This cost could be saved if we have a functional Indian Marrow Donor Registry. Through it, the chances of finding a match will be higher and the cost of transplant will also decrease. This will enable many patients to undergo this life saving procedure.
The aim of the initiative is to develop a large pool of voluntary marrow donors for patients suffering from blood cancer, thalassaemia, aplastic anaemia, congenital immunodeficiency states and other such blood related diseases.
Any patient who requires a bone marrow transplant and does not have an HLA-matched donor within their family will need to search international registries for a potential donor.
Elaborating on the need for awareness, an MDRI spokesperson said, "Since Indians are poorly represented in these international registries, chances of finding an HLA matched unrelated donor are very small. Add to that the cost of procuring these stem cells from international registries. We could save substantially if the MDRI were to be functional."
Salman Khan said, “Donating marrow is a simple act. But it can save the life of someone suffering from a blood-related disease. I am pledging my marrow today with MDRI so that in an emergency, if a patient's sample matches mine, I can be reached to donate my marrow. The more the donors, the more lives we save. So I urge that all of you donate your marrow, too.”