Record number of patients helped through the Stem Cell Registry

In 2023, as many as 66 volunteers belonging to the Finnish Stem Cell Registry donated stem cells to unknown patients. The number of donations has increased by as much as 53% in a single year, as there were 43 donations in 2022.

Saliva sample collection kits are sent by post.
Stem cell transplantation is used to treat patients with severe blood diseases, such as leukaemia. A stem cell transplant is always the patient’s last hope for recovery.

There are several reasons for this year’s record. There are now more donor candidates. Some of them have rare tissue types, and there are also more young people, which the Registry is eager to select as donors, because stem cells collected from young people have better treatment results. In addition, donor candidates are now examined more extensively upon joining, which also contributes to the donor selection decision.

“Our registry simply contains more donors who are suitable for patients. In addition, donor candidates are readily and quickly available, and our donation arrangements work reliably,” says Anne Arvola, Head of Stem Cell Registry.

In Finland, an increasing number of patients are receiving help from donors from the Finnish Stem Cell Registry

If a patient needs a stem cell transplant, the most suitable donor is sought from the international network of stem cell registries. During the past year, 41% of the patients treated in Finland received help from a donor from the Finnish Stem Cell Registry, while the rest received donations from abroad. The number has increased year by year, and this year is a record. In 2022, for example, the corresponding figure was 27%.

Additionally, more people offered to donate than in previous years

7256  new members have already joined the Stem Cell Registry in 2023. In 2022, the corresponding figure was more than 2500 less. The median age of those joining the Registry is 26, and 80% are women.

New people have been inspired to join the register, for example, by stories told in the media about patients who received help. Advocates have also done important work to raise awareness of the registry.

The Finnish Stem Cell Registry currently has a total of approximately 72,000 volunteers. The international network of registries has more than 40 million members.

A suitable donor cannot always be found

It is crucial for the success of stem cell transplantation that the patient and donor have similar enough tissue types.

Finns have a lot of rare tissue types; one in five patients in Finland cannot currently find the most suitable donor possible. The Stem Cell Registry continuously needs more new members. With the new members, it will be possible to find suitable donors for more patients.
You can join the Stem Cell Registry if you are 18–35 years old. You can join conveniently from the comfort of your home by taking samples from the inside of your cheek.

– Only a small percentage of those who join ever get to donate, but each member gives patients a chance to be saved, Arvola says.

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