Two youngsters in Mumbai - capital city of Maharashtra, India, has given a ray of hope to the city's Marrow Donor Registry by donating their stem cells. The city's registry is one of the three active registries in India. The first transplant took place in August 2014, and the second in April 2015.
Launched in 2009, Marrow Donor Registry of India (MDRI) currently has 25,000 donor members. Dr.Navin Khattry, general secretary of MDRI, said that if one were to look at statistics of developed countries, the approximate ratio for a full match is 1:10,000 to 1:20,000.
"If we compare ours, then with a database of 25,000 donors, we have managed to find 9 full matches, which gives us a ratio in the range of 1:1000-3000," added the doctor.
Doctors say that getting 10 donors that fully match is a feat in itself, as this will benefit patients requiring bone marrow transplants for benign diseases like thalessemia, immuno disorders, etc.
Of the 10 full matches that MDRI has had, two have been donated, three are on hold, three backed out and one of them was lost to follow up. Seeing the encouraging match ratio, the MDRI is now planning to increase its donor base.
Dr.Khattry also said: "The key reason for better unrelated donor match ratio is that India is genetically more homogenous when compared to other countries, which probably increases the chances of finding full unrelated matches."
Expert doctors in the city say poor awareness on bone marrow transplant is the key reason behind the program taking so long to pick up.
Dr.Sunil Parekh, hematologist, and founding member and chairman of MDRI said that another issue is of donors backing out.
He added: "Control of the dropout rates at important stages before the transplant remains a major challenge, even faced by registries worldwide; and of course, funding is a concern from time to time."