FRCBS and Tartu Stem Cell Transplant Centre to collaborate in bone marrow donor registration
The Blood Service has agreed on a collaborative venture with the Estonian stem cell transplantation centre in Tartu, the objective being to register Estonian stem cell donors to the Finnish Bone Marrow Donor Registry. This collaboration will improve the odds of finding a suitable stem cell graft for patients in need of stem cell transplantation. In addition, Estonian donors will now be registered in international registries, and can help foreign patients in need.
The Tartu stem cell transplant centre is starting an active search for Estonian bone marrow donors throughout the country. The Blood Service will train the search coordinator that will be based in Tartu. The preliminary suitability assessments will be conducted in Estonia.
Estonian stem cell donors will be registered in the Finnish Bone Marrow Donor Registry maintained by the Blood Service. When suitable Estonian donors are found, their health status assessments and the actual stem cell collection will take place in Finland, as with Finnish donors in the Registry.
This collaboration will improve the availability of stem cell grafts both in Estonia and in Finland. Currently, the Bone Marrow Donor Registry acquires approximately 300-400 new donor candidates annually. The aim is to increase donor recruitment. As the Registry gains non-Finnish donors, the variety of tissue types will also increase. This will make it possible to find a donor from the Registry for more patients needing a graft.
The Tartu stem cell transplant centre will begin recruiting Estonian donors early in 2011
Finnish Bone Marrow Donor Registry has 20 000 members
Stem cell grafts are distributed internationally, meaning that the Registry maintained by the Blood Service also serves patients outside Finland and Estonia. In 2009, a total of 83 stem cell grafts, 40 of which were bone marrow grafts, were distributed via the Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Cord blood grafts and other blood cell preparations are also distributed via the Registry. Last year, about one fourth of all grafts distributed via the Registry were from a Finnish donor, the rest being from other countries.
The Finnish Registry contains a total of about 20,000 registry members. Today more than 400 Finnish registry members have donated bone marrow or blood stem cells.
Stem cell grafts are needed for patients whose bone marrow cannot produce healthy blood cells. These are often leukaemia patients.
Further information on Finnish Bone Marrow Donor Registry
The Estonian website for Bone Marrow Donors (Tartu Stem Cell Transplant Centre)