Over 5000 people have registered in Tamil Nadu and over 90,000 in India with DKMS-BMST as potential lifesavers
Chennai, September 2023: To commemorate World Marrow Donor Day, observed on September 16th, DKMS proudly announces two significant milestones: The international nonprofit organization has successfully registered 12 million stem cell donors worldwide, providing 110,000 blood cancer or blood disorder patients with a second chance at life. In India, DKMSBMST Foundation India has registered over 90,000 potential blood stem cell donors all over India of which over 5000 people are from Tamil Nadu. The foundation has also facilitated more than 100 blood stem cell transplants in the last four years across India, thus, helped save lives of 100 blood cancer or blood disorder patients.
Every 27 seconds, someone around the globe receives the staggering diagnosis of blood cancer, bringing profound challenges to both individuals and their families. Each year, thousands of families are confronted with the heart-wrenching reality that their loved ones urgently require a blood stem cell transplant to survive.
In India, where over 70,000 people succumb to blood cancer annually, accounting for 8% of all new cancer cases, a blood stem cell transplant from an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matching donor is often the only hope. However, only 25-30% of patients in need can find HLA matching donors within their family, leaving 70% dependent on unrelated donors, accessible through stem cell registries. Given the significance of ethnic matching, the probability of Indian patients finding a suitable stem cell donor is significantly higher when seeking donors among fellow Indians.
Nonetheless, the number of registered potential stem cell donors among Indians remains insufficient, leading to prolonged waiting periods for many blood cancer patients in India who urgently require this life-saving intervention. Within this formidable journey, each registered donor shines as a beacon of hope, embodying the unified strength of diversity.
Dr. Nitin Agarwal, HOD, Donor Request Management, DKMS-BMST, said, “India has high incidence of blood cancer and blood disorders such as Thalassemia and Aplastic Anemia. One of the treatment modules we look at for blood cancer patients is stem cell transplant, but finding a matching stem cell donor is a great challenge. Despite the immense life-changing potential of this treatment, the shortage of HLA (tissue type) matched donors poses a critical situation leaving patients in a race against time. Hence, there is an urgent requirement for increased awareness and support for blood cell transplantation in India from both the public and the medical community.’’
On World Marrow Donor Day, DKMS BMST Foundation India celebrates the local heroes who selflessly donated their blood stem cells, offering a second chance at life to those in need. These achievements are not mere statistics; they are powerful stories of courage and kindness. One such inspiring narrative is that of Puviyarasu, a young professional from Chennai, who embodies the spirit of compassionate giving.
Puviyarasu’s inspiring journey began when he registered as a potential stem cell donor by giving his cheek swab sample with DKMS-BMST. In April 2022, a few months after he registered, he received a call informing him that his HLA matched with a patient. Although Puviyarasu was in Singapore at the time, he immediately decided to fly to Bangalore to donate his stem cells, via a process similar to blood platelet donation.
‘”I was filled with an immense sense of purpose when I received the opportunity to be a lifesaver through stem cell donation. The donation process was smooth, the medical professionals and the DKMS-BMST team took great care of me. After the donation, I felt like I had just done something really meaningful with my life. I urge everyone to register as potential donors and be a part of this noble cause. It can make all the difference in the world and give you a sense of fulfillment like nothing else,’’ shared Puviyarasu.
‘’Guidance on treatment, financial support, and planning is the most critical factor affecting access to treatment in India, as patients and their family members often have limited access to comprehensive information on available services and government support. DKMS-BMST is dedicated to improving the plight of patients, enhancing their access to transplantation, and providing as many patients as possible with a second chance at life. Our unwavering commitment drives us to expand our reach and impact, with the goal of ensuring every patient, regardless of location, finds the lifesaving support they need,’’ explains Patrick Paul, CEO of DKMS-BMST.
Today, more than 41 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. Registration takes only 5 minutes of your time. If you’re between 18 and 55 years and in general good health, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at www.dkms-bmst.org/register
About DKMS BMST Foundation India
A non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders, such as thalassemia and aplastic anaemia. Our aim is to improve the situation of patients suffering from 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. By doing this, DKMS-BMST provides patients in need of a blood stem cell transplant with a second chance at life.
DKMS-BMST is a joint venture of two reputed non-profit organizations: BMST (Bangalore Medical Services Trust) and DKMS, one of the largest international blood stem cell donor centres in the world. For more information, please visit dkms-bmst.org