To commemorate World Marrow Donor Day, observed on September 16th, DKMS proudly announces two significant milestones: The international nonprofit organization has successfully registered 12 million stem cell donors worldwide, providing 110,000 blood cancer or blood disorder patients with a second chance at life. In India, DKMSBMST Foundation India has registered over 90,000 potential blood stem cell donors all over India.
Every 27 seconds, another person around the globe receives the staggering diagnosis of blood cancer, bringing profound challenges to both individuals and their families. Each year, thousands of families are confronted with the heart-wrenching reality that their loved ones urgently require a blood stem cell transplant to survive.
In India, where over 70,000 people succumb to blood cancer annually, accounting for 8% of all new cancer cases, a blood stem cell transplant from an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matching donor is often the only hope. However, only 25-30% of patients in need can find HLA matching donors within their family, leaving 70% dependent on unrelated donors, accessible through stem cell registries. Given the significance of ethnic matching, the probability of Indian patients finding a suitable stem cell donor is significantly higher when seeking donors among fellow Indians.
Nonetheless, the number of registered potential stem cell donors among Indians remains insufficient, leading to prolonged waiting periods for many blood cancer patients in India who urgently require this life-saving intervention. Within this formidable journey, each registered donor shines as a beacon of hope, embodying the unified strength of diversity.
“The modality of stem cell transplant has seen rapid progress in India, due to the overall development of the field. The number of transplant centers and the surgeons with know-how of stem cell transplant has made this modality available to more people. What is lacking though is the number of donors,’’ shares Associate Director – Medical Oncology (Hematology, Hemato-Oncology, BMT), from Max Super Specialty Hospital, Delhi. ‘’Only 0.04% of total Indian population is registered globally as potential stem cell donors. This limits the donor pool for patients looking for a match. We need more people to register as stem cell donors so that patients in India can find matching stem cell donors.”
On World Marrow Donor Day, DKMS BMST Foundation India celebrates the local heroes who selflessly donated their blood stem cells, offering a second chance at life to those in need. These achievements are not mere statistics; they are powerful stories of courage and kindness.
‘’Guidance on treatment, financial support, and planning is the most critical factor affecting access to treatment in India, as patients and their family members often have limited access to comprehensive information on available services and government support. DKMS-BMST is dedicated to improving the plight of patients, enhancing their access to transplantation, and providing as many patients as possible with a second chance at life. Our unwavering commitment drives us to expand our reach and impact, with the goal of ensuring every patient, regardless of location, finds the lifesaving support they need,’’ explains Patrick Paul, CEO of DKMS-BMST.
Today, more than 41 million potential unrelated donors are listed worldwide with stem cell donor centers and registries, of which only 0.04% are Indians. This situation can only be changed by recruiting many potential blood stem cell donors from India. Registration takes only 5 minutes of your time. If you’re between 18 and 55 years and in general good health, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at www.dkms-bmst.org/register