November 22, 2002

Minorities encouraged to attend VUMC bone marrow drive Dec. 5

Featured Image

Dr. Robert Collins, center, talks with Dr. Bonnie Miller and Dean Steven Gabbe before the lecture last week in Light Hall. (photo by Dana Johnson)

A Vanderbilt University undergraduate student group, Vanderbilt Students Meeting for the Awareness of Cancer (V-SMAC), is organizing a bone marrow donor registration drive on Thursday, Dec. 5.

The drive will be in The Learning Center, Medical Center North Round Wing, from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Minorities are particularly encouraged to consider attending the drive because these groups are underrepresented in the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Because the traits that must match to make a transplant successful are inherited, appropriate matches are much more likely within a patient’s own ethnic group.

Persons who attend the drive will be given information about what is involved in bone marrow donation. If they choose to enter the National Registry, they will be asked to donate a small blood sample. They will be contacted if at some point in the future they potentially match a patient who needs a bone marrow transplant.

Testing potential donors will be done free of charge.

Each year, more than 640,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and blood-related diseases, and many of these patients will need a bone marrow transplant for their best chance of survival. Of these, only about 25 percent will find an appropriate match within their own family. These patients must turn to unrelated donors for a potentially life-saving transplant. The odds of finding an appropriate match in the registry are significantly lower for minority and mixed-race patients.