IIT Goa fest ‘CultRang-2023’ witnessed over 300 students registering as potential stem cell donors
The registration drive was organized by the social initiate partner DKMS BMST Foundation India
11, March 2023, Ponda, Goa: Aiming to raise awareness about blood stem cell donation and to encourage people to register as potential lifesavers, DKMS BMST Foundation India conducted a stem cell donor registration drive at the ‘CultRang-2023’ student fest in IIT Goa.
Over 300 students registered as potential lifesavers. DKMS-BMST, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders hopes to register many more students during the ongoing three-day student fest at IIT Goa.
Every 5 minutes, someone in India is diagnosed with blood cancer or a blood disorder like Thalassemia or Aplastic Anemia. Many such patients are children and young people whose only chance of recovery is a stem cell transplant. For a successful stem cell transplant, the patient needs to find an HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) matched donor. Most often, majority of the patients are unable to receive a transplant due to the unavailability of a matching blood stem cell donor. With very few individuals signing up as potential blood stem cell donors the probability of finding a matching donor gets difficult. This increases the need for more people of Indian ethnicity to register themselves.
Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, says, “Patients and donors of Indian origin have unique HLA characteristics that are severely under-represented in the global database, which makes the probability of finding a suitable donor even more difficult. The representation of Indian population in the registry is minimal. India, being a young country, our aim is to raise greater awareness about blood stem cell donation through students.”
Dr. Divya Padmanabhan, Faculty Advisor Culturals, IIT Goa, says “I am glad to inform you that CultRang-2023 is collaborating with DKMS-BMST as its social initiative partner. We appreciate their efforts in helping blood cancer patients. We believe the youth of today have great potential in encouraging fellow peers towards a noble cause. There can be nothing more incredible than saving a life and we as an institute are glad to be a part of a cause that raises awareness among the public about registering as a blood stem cell donor and its impact on a patient’s life.”
24-year-old Prajwal, who recently saved a life by donating his blood stem cells was also present to share his experience and inspire students to register as potential lifesavers.
Patrick Paul added, “We are thankful to IIT Goa and its students for helping us organize the registration drive. DKMS-BMST aims to organize many such awareness drives and registration drives across the country at colleges and universities specially targeting the youth crowd, because they remain in the registry for longer period and there is a higher chance for them coming up as a match for a patient.”
To register as a potential stem cell donor, you must be a healthy Indian adult between 18 to 55 years of age. When you are ready to register, all you need to do is complete a consent form and
swab the inside of your cheeks to collect your tissue cells. Your tissue sample is then sent to the lab, to be analyzed and listed anonymously on the international search platform for matching stem cell donors.
Today, more than 40 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. If you’re eligible, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at www.dkms-bmst.org/register