In a bid to help Indians with blood cancers, Thalassemia, Sickle Cell Disease and other curable blood disorders, Chennai-based Jeevan Blood Bank and Research Centre has launched Jeevan Stem Cell Registry.
Jeevan claims to have a track record of establishing sustainable social impact projects with the support of the community and corporate houses. Jeevan established a blood bank in 1995, a Public Cord Blood Bank in 2005, a high resolution HLA typing laboratory in 2013 and now the blood bank has launched a registry of peripheral blood stem cell donors (traditionally known as bone marrow donor registry).
Transplantation of stem cells from donated cord blood or from bone marrow donors offer 60 to 80% chance of cure for some blood disorders like Thalassemia, blood cancers and immune disorders. However, only 30% of these patients are able to find a match within the family. Donated cord blood can be the solution for children. Others need to search for donors in the community. Committed bone marrow donors remain the only hope for adult patients. Despite a match, several still die without transplant because of the high cost of the matching stem cell unit.
Jeevan will recruit 50,000 bone marrow donors from across India over the next 5 years or earlier. These potential donors will be in the age group of 20 and 40 and from a pool of voluntary blood donors from across India. To qualify, they should have donated blood or platelets twice in the previous two years. For this, Jeevan will be working with blood banks and blood donor organisations across India.
The cost of high resolution Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) typing for the first 6000 donors is being funded through a grant from Jamsetji Tata Trust. Jeevan hopes to raise funds for this project from the corporates under the CSR programme and through tax exempted public donations. The project cost could come down by 30%, if the Government of India decides to waive the customs duty on the reagents and the Government of Tamil Nadu considers waiving the VAT.