Information about the Stem Cell Registry
Volunteering to help someone
The Stem Cell Registry has more than 65,000 members ready to donate blood stem cells to patients in need. Worldwide, there are more than 40 million people registered in stem cell registries.
Number of patients
Each year, over 100 patients in Finland need a blood stem cell transplant from a voluntary donor. Approximately one in six are children.
Number of donors
Each year, roughly 30–60 members of the Stem Cell Registry are found to be a compatible tissue type match for a patient and selected for donation.
When a patient requires a stem cell transplant, a global database of stem cell registries is searched for a donor with a the right tissue type.
The Finnish Stem Cell Registry searches for and mediates stem cell transplants inside Finland, from abroad to Finland and from Finland to abroad.
As many as 75 per cent of patients in Finland receive a transplant from a foreign donor.
Because stem cell transplants are a matter of life and death for the patient, donated stem cells are always transported personally by a courier from the donor to the patient. The donated stem cells need to reach the patient quickly, no more than 72 hours after collection.
Approximately 70 per cent of Stem Cell Registry members are women. Despite this, due to biological reasons, more than 60 per cent of selected donors are male. This is why the registry is especially in need of more male members.
The average age of stem cell donors is 30 years. Selected donors are continuously becoming younger, because studies show that treatment outcomes are better with stem cells collected from young donors. You can join the register if you are 18–35 years old. You can remain a member of the registry until the age of 56.
Founded in 1992
The Finnish Stem Cell Registry is already over 30 years old! Initially named the Bone Marrow Donor Registry, it was renamed in 2014.
Diseases treated with stem cell transplantation
Stem cell transplantation is most commonly used to treat leukaemia. It can also be used to treat other malignant blood dyscrasias.
Patients who need a stem cell transplant will die if they do not receive one. 50–70 per cent of adult patients who receive a stem cell transplant recover. As many as 90 per cent of paediatric patients who receive a stem cell transplant recover.
Most donors donate stem cells directly from their bloodstream
Approximately 80 per cent of stem cell donations are collected from the bloodstream, and 20 per cent from the bone marrow of the hip bone. Which collection method is preferable depends on the patient’s age and condition.
100 per cent of donors would recommend donating
In a donor survey, when asked how likely they would be to recommend stem cell donation to their friends and acquaintances based on their own experiences, 97 per cent responded that they would be very likely and 3 per cent responded that they would be likely.
Who can join the Stem Cell Registry?
Anyone who is 18–35 years old and in good overall health can join the Stem Cell Registry. You can check your own suitability for donating with a quick online test.