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.