What We Do

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Identifying a suitably matched unrelated bone marrow donor is a complex process undertaken by qualified and highly trained SABMR staff.

With the chance of finding a match being approximately one in 100 000, the SABMR performs searches for patients who do not have a match in their own families and whose only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant.

To achieve this, the SABMR:

  • established and maintains a registry of volunteer donors in South Africa,
  • registers newly recruited volunteer donors on its database, after testing of their blood samples by various HLA typing laboratories . Recruitment is performed mainly by The Sunflower Fund,
  • works closely with registries in 56 countries, which collectively list over 28 million donors, to increase the chances of finding matching donors for SA patients. Currently, 75% of the donors for South African patients have come from other countries,
  • co-ordinates the collection of stem cells and arranges their transport to transplant centres in South Africa, once a match has been found, and
  • follows up on the well-being of donors post stem cell donation, as well as the progress of patients who have received transplants facilitated by the SABMR.
Over 75% of bone marrow donors found by the SABMR for terminally ill South African children and adults live in Europe and the USA.