Posts Tagged ‘stem cell transplant’

As I write this post today, there are three people turning down offers to donate their blood stem cells after they have been identified as potential matches as donors for patients suffering from Leukemia.

This brings many questions to my mind…

  • Is your time more valuable than someone’s life?
  • Would you register yourself as a donor without actually having any intention of donating at all?
  • Can an adult not make decisions for himself without being pressurized socially by the people around him?

I hear that these three registrants could have saved a couple of lives by taking the right decision today but they have chosen to back-off due to social reasons. While one is being emotionally traumatized by his mother,  the next is “too busy” to bother and the final one is “getting married” soon and cannot risk getting any “fever”.

While we have made it very clear that there are no known side-effects except made flu like symptoms which can easily happen after any sort of blood donation, people are still skeptical of the whole process and when it is their turn to actually go through the process to SAVE A LIFE, they are not sure anymore.

I take this opportunity to apprise you of the entire blood stem cell donation process (yet again):

DATRI is a non-profit organization that has been set up to help save lives of those suffering from life threatening disorders like leukemia, lymphoma etc.

With very few registered donors available in India, the possibility of finding a match for an Indian anywhere in the world is very bleak. DATRI is working towards creating a wide and diverse database of potential donors that can be accessed by any patient, living anywhere in the world, in need of a stem cell transplant.

What does DATRI do?

STAGE 1: Collect samples 
  • Buccal Cells – A cotton swab is rubbed inside your cheek.
Processing the Samples to analyze the DNA
  • Once a sample is collected, it is processed in a state-of-the-art lab at Histogenetics, a partner of DATRI.
  • HLA typing is done and a unique code is assigned to every sample.
  • The Genetic information of an individual obtained after thorough analysis is stored in DATRI’s database.
STAGE 2: Search for a match 
  • The patient’s tissue typing (genetic information) needs to match very closely with that of the donor, to enable a successful transplant.  If your bone marrow appears to be a suitable match for someone waiting for a transplant, you’ll be contacted immediately. You’ll undergo a brief examination to find if your bone marrow can be transplanted. Your physical fitness is examined by taking a small blood sample, to ensure that you are medically eligible to donate. Once you are found to be a potential donor, sufficient information about the process involved is provided, and a simple and harmless procedure is performed.
FINAL STAGE: The Transplant Process 
  • DONOR: Once a match is found, stem cells are obtained from the donor. The process is usually as simple as drawing blood. In case of a Peripheral Blood Stem Cells transplantation, blood is drawn from a vein from one arm and is passed through a machine that removes the blood-forming cells. Rest of the blood is returned through a vein into the other arm. The procedure to donate PBSC takes approximately 4-6 hours.
  • PATIENT: The stem cells are then infused into the patient’s blood stream.

Please note that it costs approximately Rs 2500 (roughly $50) to process EACH of the buccal swab kits collected. This cost is not incurred by you but someone else who values your sentiment and is willing to help! It is your responsibility to understand the process before you register yourself as a potential donor.

Here is a concise video created by the DATRI team that clarifies the process in a simple manner: The DATRI stemcell donation process. After all this, if you are unsure of being able to go through ANY of the above stages for a peripheral stem cell donation, do yourself and us a favor- DO NOT REGISTER!

In related news: AMIT GUPTA is STILL looking for a DONOR and NEEDS YOUR HELP!

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