With the chances of finding a suitably matched bone marrow donor standing at 1 in 100 000, the search process requires a highly specialized course of action implemented by a skilled medical team.
Referral of Terminal Patient to the SABMR
Every year thousands of individuals with blood diseases reach a stage where their only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. The majority (70%) will need to identify an unrelated matching donor through the support of Donor Registries.
Search of Potential Matching Donors
At the request of a referring physician, the SABMR will begin a Preliminary Search of donors on its local database and the international database of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) which holds information on > 20 million donors world-wide. At this stage the match is “on paper” only.
Presentation of Preliminary Search Findings
The SABMR presents the Preliminary Search results to the referring physician. The results identify donors that may be a suitable match. These early results require further follow-up to find out which, if any, of the potential donors are suitable, available and willing to donate stem cells.
Contacting Potential Donor/s
The Formal Search involves contacting potential donors identified in the Preliminary Search and conducting further testing to establish whether they are indeed suitable matches. It is important to establish the general health of the donor, their availability to donate and their willingness to proceed.
Extended Tissue Typing of Potential Donor/s
Short-listed donors are frequently required to undergo advanced laboratory testing to further establish their bone marrow suitability. Tests typically include HLA-DBR1 and –DQB1 loci high resolution typing.
Confirmatory Typing of Potential Donor/s
Once a donor’s HLA typing shows that there is a match with the patient, the next step is mandatory confirmation i.e. The donor’s typing must be confirmed in the same laboratory that performed the HLA typing of the patient.
Once a matching donor has been identified, the SABMR coordinates all the logistics of harvesting the donor cells and transporting them to the Transplant Centre.