Charity's appeal for bone marrow donors
6:05pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
A SHORTAGE of male bone marrow donors is putting blood cancer patients at risk, says leading blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
Male donors are overwhelmingly chosen to donate by transplant centres as many doctors believe that they give patients the best possible outcomes, yet there are only 1,657 young male donors in Wales. This accounts for just 13.6% of all registered donors in the country.
Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential bone marrow donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.
Henny Braund, Anthony Nolan’s Chief Executive, says, “It’s a simple case of supply and demand. We know that transplant doctors are increasingly choosing male donors to treat blood cancer patients so we need to ensure that we’re providing clinicians with the donors they need. Failure to meet this demand could have very serious implications for blood cancer patients across the country.”
The charity is now urgently calling on men aged 16-30 to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register through their website. Applicants have to fill in a short form and provide a small saliva sample.
“Some transplant doctors believe that as patients are less likely to develop post-transplant complications such as chronic Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) if they have a young male donor, this is a better choice,” comments Dr Robert Lown, Medical Officer at Anthony Nolan.
“GvHD in particular is a serious post-transplant condition which can have a severe impact on a transplant patient’s quality of life; in some cases it can ultimately lead to death. We’re always looking at ways to reduce chronic GvHD and we’ve identified that using male donors could help us do that.”