The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) moves ahead in improving the tissue-typing quality of its donors and recruiting its own donors
The only bone marrow registry in Africa with World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) Qualification status, the SABMR is now recruiting its own donors and better typing all donors on the Registry, as well as raising funds to support these activities.
CAPE TOWN – An internationally recognised registry with a 27-year track record of meeting transplantation requirements, the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) is moving ahead to improve the quality of the tissue typing of donors on the Registry, by using more recent sensitive technology available. This will make the matching of donors for patients in need of transplant more accessible and a faster process.
As Dr Charlotte Ingram, SABMR Medical Director, explains, ‘Better typed donors on the database will shorten the time it takes to find a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. We will be working on increasing both the quality (better typed donors) and quantity of donors on the Registry to find the life-saving match faster.’
Recruiting donors in-house
The SABMR is now recruiting its own donors. A key issue in SABMR choosing this path was the decision of The Sunflower Fund (TSF) to sever relations with SABMR and no longer recruit donors for the SABMR. In addition to starting their own registry, TSF’s new initiative includes setting up an HLA Data Centre for Africa, partnering with other developing registries on the African continent and the Caribbean, and providing HLA data to researchers for revenue generation.
The SABMR is moving on and going digital to recruit and maintain our existing registry to improve quality and ensure stem cell bone marrow donors are and remain available to our patients in need. In addition, we will be offering a patient assistance program to indigent patients in need of bone marrow transplants in South Africa.
According to international protocol, a donor may only be listed on one recognised registry. This is to avoid donor duplications, which may increase the time it takes to find a life-saving bone marrow match for a desperately ill patient. We would therefore encourage all potential donors to contact the SABMR directly to become a donor.
Founded in 1991, the SABMR is a member of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) and an internationally recognised registry. It has been the only registry in Africa supporting an active matched unrelated donor transplant programme. Besides facilitating stem cell transplants for South African and international patients, the SABMR also assists in international family transplants as well as searches to identify matching donors for patients who are refractory to blood platelet transfusions .As an established Registry, the necessary skills, technical infrastructure and expertise already reside within the SABMR to deliver services for patient searches, matching and co-ordination of procurement and harvesting of stem cells, and delivery of the product to the patient and clinicians.
How you can help
The SABMR encourages potential donors to sign up with the South African Bone Marrow Registry directly. Any healthy person between the age of 18 and 45 may register as a bone marrow donor. To join the Registry, please go to www.sabmr.co.za, call (021) 447-8638 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the SABMR is a not-for-profit public benefit organisation which receives no financial assistance from government and operates on a cost-recovery basis for services provided to patients in need of transplant. Hence our call for financial assistance, as The Sunflower Fund is no longer assisting to recruit donors for the SABMR.
To make a financial donation to the SABMR, please go to www.sabmr.co.za and click the ‘Donate’ button.
By becoming a bone marrow stem cell donor or by making a financial donation, you play an extremely important role in making more tested donors available on the registry for patient bone marrow transplants.
As we move forward, the SABMR would like to thank The Sunflower Fund for their previous commitment and contribution to the Registry, and wish them well in their new initiative.