Bone marrow transplant a success at Dominican

May 02, 2013 No Comments by

The recently concluded bone marrow drive at Dominican University was a success for The organization was targeting 30 donors from various races in order to have genetic diversity. They exceeded expectations and enrolled 41 donors in total. Enrolled were 16 Asians, 10 Caucasians, 8 Hispanics, 3 African Americans. Four multi race donors were enrolled as well.

This was the first time that Dominican participated in a bone marrow drive.

Bone marrow transplant is a treatment for cancer. It works on the principle of replacing red blood cell producing bone marrow that is destroyed during chemotherapy cancer treatments. Bone marrow transplants also help people suffering from sickle cell anemia.

Perry Bowens, recruitment manager for, an organization that promotes bone marrow donor registration encourages everyone to join the registry.

“A large donor registration pool helps ensure that supplies of marrow are readily available when need arises,” says Bowen.

After registering, Bowens explains that test results are just one call away. Registration takes less than ten minutes and it only takes six weeks to get the results of your test. Registration with during donor drives is also affordable. Prospective donors signed up in the Dominican drive for free. It usually costs $175 – 300 to register as a donor.

During testing, participants get four swabs that they rub on the inside of their cheeks. Two are used right away to classify a donor’s genetic character. Bowens says that initial test results go to a database, and when the test results match a needy patient they get a call. Donors are told what the patient suffers from, and they are asked if they would like to go through with the donation. If they agree they are sent to a medical facility for follow up blood testing. If new test results match, and donors wish to continue to the next phase, a physical is required, a final consent form signed and a marrow collection date is scheduled.

Collection methods

There are two methods used to collect bone marrow. The simplest method is Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC). It is used 80% of the time and has the advantage that donors can go back to work immediately after the procedure is completed. Full recovery from PBSC can take up to 72 hours.

The second procedure, marrow donation requires anesthesia and an overnight stay in the hospital. It can take up to 6 weeks for a full recovery since bone marrow is removed from the tailbone. Bowens says, “They are no lasting effects from the marrow donation procedure because the body replenishes everything taken out in 3 weeks.”

Neither donor nor the patient can choose which method of collection will be used. Only doctors have this privilege. If a patient is young, PBSC is usually used, but if older, the traditional method of marrow donation is favored. If a patient finds a match, and has a marrow transplant, symptoms of disease such as anemia, chromosomal changes, swelling of internal organs and aching of the joints are alleviated. Doctors track donors in case they need them again which is usually after five years. Sickle cell anemia is genetic and thus cannot be cured. It comes back eventually and requires additional marrow transplants.

According to Mr. Bowens there are about six thousand patients a day who try to find a match and patients can never find a match with their parents because they receive only 50% of their genetic material from their father and 50% from their mother.

When looking for a match doctors seek ten out of ten genetic characters in order to reduce the chances of rejection, but sometimes they accept nine. Donors can only donate once per year.

“One major challenge is the shortage of minority marrow matches. Individuals from minorities have between a 13 to 27 percent chance of finding a match, depending upon the race,” said Bowens. “In contrast, Caucasians have about a 93 percent chance of finding a match in the marrow registry. “Because of this it can take longer to find a donor for minorities” Bowens said.

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Simple Kenyan who loves serenity and diversity. Yema enjoys the company of smiling people and good cuisine. He also loves dancehall music. Yema subscribes to the premise "all actual life is encounter"
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