Roorkee: Aiming to create awareness on blood stem cell donation and to encourage people to register themselves as a potential life saver, DKMS BMST Foundation India conducted a blood stem cell donor registration drive at IIT Roorkee from October 14 to 16 during the ‘Thomso22’ student fest. Over 400 students registered as potential donors during the three-day awareness and donor registration drive organized by DKMS BMST Foundation India. DKMS-BMST a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders.
In India, many blood cancer patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell transplant. For a successful stem cell transplant patient need to find an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matched donor. Only about 30% of the patients in need of a stem cell transplant can find matching donor from within their family, the rest 70% depend on finding a matching unrelated donor.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, says, “Patients and donors of Indian origin have unique HLA characteristics that are severely under-represented in the global database, which makes the probability of finding a suitable donor even more difficult. Successful blood stem cell transplant needs a perfect HLA tissue match. The representation of Indian population in the registry is minimal. India, being a young country, our aim is to raise greater awareness about blood stem cell donation through students.”
Nitin Sahu, Convener Thomso’22and PG Student, IIT Roorkee, says “I am glad that Thomso’22 collaborated with DKMS-BMST as its official social initiative partner to promote young and healthy people to come forward and donate blood cells and help save lives. DKMS-BMST ‘s vision and mission of fighting against blood cancer and blood disorders are appreciable. They aim to improve the situation of patients with blood cancer and other blood disorders in India and throughout the world by raising awareness about blood stem cell transplantation and registering potential blood stem cell donors.”
Rohit, a 33-year-old resident of Kanpur, who recently saved a life by donating his blood stem cells was also present to share his experience and inspire students to register. DKMS-BMST team also informed the students about the impact of stem cell donation and transplantation on those who are diagnosed with blood cancer.
Patrick Paul added, “We are thankful to IIT Roorkee and its students for helping us organize the registration drive. DKMS-BMST aims to organize many such awareness drives and registration drives across the country at colleges and universities specially targeting the youth crowd, because they remain in the registry for longer period and there is higher chance of getting their stem cell matched quickly.”
To register as a potential stem cell donor, you must be a healthy Indian adult between 18 to 50 years of age. When you are ready to register, all you need to do is complete a consent form and swab the inside of your cheeks to collect your tissue cells. Your tissue sample is then sent to the lab, to be analyzed and listed anonymously on the international search platform for matching stem cell donors.
Today, more than 39 million potential unrelated donors are listed worldwide with stem cell donor centers and registries, of which only 0.04% are Indians. This situation can only be changed by recruiting many potential blood stem cell donors from India. If you’re eligible, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at www.dkms-bmst.org/register