10 Things You Need to Know About Stem Cell Transplants
Over 14 million (or 75%) of the 19 million registered stem cell donors in the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) database are Caucasian. Around 500,000 (or less than 3%) are of Chinese origin and Chinese make up about 20% of the world’s population.
Chinese patients have only less than a 20% chance of finding an unrelated matched stem cell donor for life-saving transplants.
If you are a male between the ages of 17-35, you’re considered an optimal stem cell donor. Stem cells from young male donors offer better long-term survival rates for patients. But all donors represent more hope for patients around the world.
Only 25% of stem cell patients will find a match with a sibling. This means 75% of patients must rely on the generosity of people like you and me to save them.
A patient’s best chance of finding a donor is within their ethnic group. That’s why it’s so important to increase the number of Chinese in the stem cell donor database.
There are 3 ways to obtain stem cells for transplants: peripheral blood, bone marrow, and umbilical cord blood.
90% of donated stem cells are taken from peripheral blood in a process similar to blood donation. The other 10% of donated stem cells come from the bone marrow.
Stem cell transplants can help life-threatening diseases including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, genetic disorders and other autoimmune disorders.
Only a few people in the stem cell registry will actually have the chance to donate stem cells.
Stem cell patients only have a small window of time when they can accept stem cell transplants. That’s why we need to increase the number of registrants of Chinese origin to better patients’ chances for survival.
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