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Why a BMDR?


For many patients diagnosed with leukaemia or other fatal blood disorders, Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation offers the only possible curative treatment. Currently, many patients needing BMT and allied services are compelled to go overseas primarily to India and Singapore incurring very high costs. The initial HLA typing is conducted in Sri Lanka to find matching donors from immediate family and the most closely matching donors are taken to India for further testing (adding an extra cost for the patient).

What is HLA Typing?

Matching of stem cell donor to a recipient is determined by comparing their tissue types, also known as their Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) types. HLA typing is important since the degree of HLA compatibility between donor and recipient will influence the outcome of the transplant.

What are unrelated bone marrow donor registries and cord blood registries?

Unrelated bone marrow donor registries and cord blood registries have been developed to help the 60 - 70% of patients in need of a stem cell transplant who are unable to find a suitably matched related donor. Over 7 million donors from more than 35 countries are listed on Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW), an international database managed by The Netherlands. Of these, more than 90,000 are cord blood units. (Currently, Sri Lanka does not have a BMDR and hence is not a member of the BMDW)

Bone marrow donor registries are registers of volunteers willing to anonymously donate stem cells for any patient worldwide in need of a stem cell transplant.
Cord blood registries record details of stored cord blood units, donated by mothers on the birth of their babies. Blood removed from the umbilical cord and placenta of newborns is a rich source of stem cells suitable for transplantation in some patients, especially young children.

(An extract from HLATypingbrochure.pdf – Australian Bone Marrow Donor registry, ABMDR) image of a sick child

For more information on Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) donation:

Once Sri Lanka sets up its own Bone Marrow Donor Registry (BMDR), Sri Lankans will gain automatic access to the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide(BMDW) as a participating BMDR.