Christ College in Pune and online blood stem cell donor database DATRI will collaborate to raise awareness of blood disorders such as blood cancers and thalassemia which require blood stem cell transplants.
“There are large [numbers] of patients suffering from blood cancer and thalassemia major among others for which the last resort is blood stem cell transplant,” said Christ College coordinator Priya Wahab. “For patients who could not find a match within their family the only hope is registries like DATRI. We will support DATRI to help spread awareness and save lives of many such patients.”
DATRI is the country’s largest database of blood stem cell donors unrelated to recipients. Since being founded in 2009, it has registered more than four million donors credited with “[gifting]” 619 lives.
“DATRI is working towards creating a wide and diverse database of potential blood stem cell donors that can be accessed by any patient, living anywhere in the world, in need of a blood stem cell transplant,” the organisation explains on its website. At the time it was founded, “it was almost impossible to find an unrelated donor for patients of Indian origin.”
“We will support the cause by conducting awareness for all students in every department,” said Christ College principal Sony Chundattu. “The college will be doing multiple public drives and events like walkathons and marathons on important days to create awareness.”
In India, blood disorders carry a huge toll. The country is home to the third largest number of haematological cancer cases in the world, those being cancers which affect the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. It also has a sizeable burden of thalassemia, to the extent it is regarded as the world’s capital for the disease. More than forty million Indians test positive for thalassemia, of whom more than 100,000 die before the age of twenty. As such, efforts to raise awareness of the importance of blood stem cell transplants are welcome for the millions affected by them and their families.
“It is sad that even after every donor is being made aware the he or she would be the last hope of cure to a patient if found a match, there are still around forty percent back-outs from volunteer donors,” said Wahab. “While for a patient that donor could be the only person in the world who could save his/her life. There is a dire need to spread awareness which will help save lives of thousands of patients.”