Times Of India
29 October 2012
Database at Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel has details of more than 10,500 donors to improve probability of finding a match, which is currently a 1 in 20,000 chance
India’s first voluntary bone marrow donor registry is now functional. With a database of over 10,500 donors, it will help lakhs of patients suffering from lifethreatening diseases like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma find a matching donor for a marrow transplant. The server of the registry has been set up at Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel, Mumbai where data of all donors has been registered. "We have been working on expanding ourdonordatabase.Theregistryisnow ready to be used," said Sunil Parekh, member of the executive committee, Marrow Donor Registry India (MDRI).
Doctors are optimistic that the registry will greatly improve chances of patients finding a matching donor for a bone marrow transplant, a process which usually takes a long time. The chances of finding a matching donor are 1 in 20,000 people. Doctors often look for a matching donor within the patient’s family, in which the chances of finding a match are about 25 per cent. Then, the patient has to wait till the hospital finds a matching donor.
With all the data available online, patients can approach a transplant expert, who will in turn authorise a search in the registry. All donors have been tested for exiting diseases and for the tissue type of Human Leukocyte (white cell) Antigen (HLA). For a bone marrow transplant, the donor and the recipient should have the same HLA type. The test to find a match can cost up to Rs 8,000 per donor.
While the registry has already received a few requests for donors, it did not yield any match. While expanding the registry is their topmost priority, experts are worried about theresponsefromdonors."Veryoften, the donor refuses at the last moment when the match is found. Talks are on with several companies and other groups to increase the number of donors," said Parekh.
HOW TO DONATE BONE MARROW
THE SURGICAL PROCEDURE: Four to five small incisions are made at the back of the pelvic bones. A special needle is then inserted and the marrow is drawn out with a syringe. The incisions are merely one fourth of an inch long and do not require stitches. General anesthesia is used in majority of these procedures.THE PERIPHERAL BLOOD STEM CELL(PBSC) PROCESS: The donor is injected with a drug called Filgrstim to facilitate more circulation of blood forming cells. Blood is then drawn from the donor and passed through a machine which separates the blood forming cells. (While most donors are asked to donate through PBSC process, in some cases, the surgical process is reccomended as some patients (mostly children) have a higher success rate through this procedure)