Following the death of Seven-year-old Joshua Weeks, who fell victim to leukaemia after the failure to find a suitable bone marrow donor, The Canadian Blood Services stem cell donation program is urging more people to sign up. This is according to a recent article on CKNW.
Currently there are about 800 Canadians looking for an unrelated donor, according to Dena Mercer, who is an Associate Director at OneMatch. Dena added “Our chances of finding a match for each patient certainly are greatly dependent on their ancestry and their DNA typing. So when someone is of mixed ancestry, it makes their ability to find a match even more difficult.”
One Match’s existing database is 70% Caucasian and that only a quarter of people searching for donors can find one in their family, which also highlights the need for greater genetic diversity in the database.
At present, there are about 150 successful stem cell transplants each year from donors who aren’t related to patients in Canada.
Scott Wolf, CEO Of Grace century, comments “this is again the EXACT reason to bank your own stem cells and at a point where they are at the most powerful…when young and healthy. I don’t want to have to hope there is a match out there that someone donated in case I need cells.”