Chennaiites, here’s your chance to save a life through stem cell donation

Chennai Volunteers is organising a blood donation and stem cell donation registration camp to benefit children suffering from Thalassemia. Here is a good opportunity to find out everything you wanted to know about Stem Cell donation!

Chennai Volunteers is organizing a blood donation drive and stem cell donation registration in partnership with the Madras Voluntary Blood Bureau & Jeevan Stem Cell Foundation on Saturday, June 23 2018, between 10 am and 2 pm  at Mecheri Center, Eldams Road, Teynampet.

The proceeds of this camp will be used for deserving children being treated for Thalassemia at VHS Hospital. A facility to register interest to donate stem cells will also be available at the venue. Donors who express interest in stem cell donation will be contacted when a requirement arises.

Why stem cell donation?

Every year over 1,20,000 Indians are diagnosed with blood cancer and another 10,000 children are born with diseases like Thalassemia. There is a 60 to 80% chance of cure if they find matching stem cell donors. The chance of finding a donor in the family is less than 30%. As the match is highly ethnicity dependent, the chance of finding a match in an Indian registry is over 70%.

Stem Cells from donated cord blood can help children with a body weight less than 30 Kg. Other patients will need a larger number of cells and that can only be obtained from a donor either as Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation or Bone Marrow Donation.

What is a stem cell registry?

Stem Cell Registry is a database of potential stem cell donors, whose Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) is stored in a server. When a patient needs a donor, the matching donor is identified from the database. They are then counseled, medically examined and then encouraged to donate stem cells. These stem cells are used for the treatment of patients.

Who can donate?

  • Donor must be between the ages of 18 and 50
  • Donor must have donated blood or platelets at least twice during the last two years
  • Donor must be healthy and free from any disease that require long term medication
  • Donor must not have had jaundice in the past

Who cannot donate?

A person will not be eligible to join the registry if any of the following applies:

  • You are under 18 or over 50 years old
  • You weigh under 50kg or are severely overweight (a BMI of more than 40)
  • You (or your partner) are, or think you are, HIV or Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) positive or believe you may carry the Hepatitis B or C virus
  • You have ever been injected with non-prescription drugs including body-building drugs (includes one off use)
  • You have had any of the following: Cancer (including leukaemia), Heart disease or heart surgery, Stroke, Epilepsy, Diabetes (unless this is controlled by diet alone) or Rheumatoid arthritis
  • You suffer/suffered from any chronic illness

The  process

Stem Cell donation is a voluntary and non-remunerative commitment. The donation can be done in two ways .More than 90% of people donate their stem cells by peripheral blood stem cell collection (PBSC), a process similar to donating platelets.The other 10% donate through bone marrow, where they give cells from the bone marrow in their pelvis.

For PBSC donation, the process takes place over four days. A naturally-occurring hormone which increases the number of blood forming stem cells your body produces is injected over a four-day period. On the fourth day a blood sample is collected for counting the number of cells in the blood. The PBSC donation will start the next day. A nurse or doctor will insert a tiny tube into the vein in the donor’s arm. The tube will be connected to a machine to collect the stem cells. Donation only takes about 4-5 hours. Several donors are fit enough to go back to work straight after PBSC donation. Donors will not need a general anaesthetic or to stay in hospital.

For bone marrow donation, donors will spend up to two nights in a hospital. Under general anaesthesia, doctors will withdraw bone marrow from the donor’s pelvic bone using a sterile needle and syringe. Donors may feel tired and have a little bruising and pain in your lower back after donation. But this passes within a week.

Chennai Volunteers blood donation and stem cell donation registration camp

Time    : 10:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Venue : Mecheri Centre, 49, Eldams Road, Teynampet, Chennai – 600018.

Landmark: Opposite to Punjab National Bank


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