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Firms pledge support for marrow transplant

Currently, 17,000 voluntary donors are registered with MDRI.

Mumbai |
March 25, 2014 12:41:11 am

While there have been eight instances of registered bone marrow donors backing out at the last minute in the past one year, the Marrow Donor Registry India (MDRI), located at Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, has now found support in India Inc. Though few in number, major companies and organisations have started registering with MDRI.

While Syntel Inc, J P Morgan, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a media group and WNS are some of the firms that have registered, the Indian Navy (Western Command), with over 200 registered donors is the latest to do so.

Set up in 2009, MDRI is an active registry in India which maintains a database of voluntary unrelated marrow donors to facilitate blood stem cell transplants for patients with life-threatening disorders like leukaemia, lymphoma, and thalassaemia.

“We have to prepare patients for a bone marrow transplant by giving them high-dose chemotherapy and irradiation. We recently had two registered matched donors who backed out at the last minute due to family opposition. This situation is fatal for the patients who were to receive the transplant. A simultaneous development is that big corporates are slowly waking up to the importance of bone marrow transplant, which is often the only hope of survival for lakhs of patients worldwide,” said Dr Sunil Parekh, MDRI chairman.

Currently, 17,000 voluntary donors are registered with MDRI. “We are proactively approaching other corporates and institutions. We need to build a large Indian database as it will go a long way in ensuring curative therapy for people in the country with blood cancer, thalassaemia, etc.”

In all, 4,420 have registered from the companies. K C College, K J Somaiya College, S K Somaiya College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Jai Hind College and Sardar Patel College of Engineering are among the colleges with 3,237 registrations with MDRI.

According to MDRI, at any given time, there are about 3,000 patients searching for a donor for stem cell transplant globally.

“MDRI started a computer-based search request system in 2013 and we have received 230 requests so far. We were recently enrolled as a participating Indian registry in the Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) registry. Any transplant centre that is a member of BMDW can search this database of over 23 million donors. We need more donors now and our target is to reach a figure of one lakh at the earliest,” said Ramesh Uttamchandani, MDRI coordinator.

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