Friday, August 20, 2010

Race can complicate Bone Marrow Transplants

Recently, reported how race, Bone Marrow Transplants : When Race Is An Issue, can complicate the matching process for bone marrow transplants. Bone marrow donors must be more genetically similar to their recipients than organ donors. Where organ donation only introduces a new organ into a recipient's body, a bone marrow transplant introduces an entirely new immune system. In essence, with a new organ, the recipient's body may reject the new organ, but with a bone marrow donation the recipient's new immune system could reject their entire body. That ain't good.

The chances of finding a bone marrow match are very slim. If fact, the chances are only about 30% within your family, but that's not the worst if it. According to the article, about 66% of Caucasians will find a match but among other races the chances are only about 25%. The odds are even lower for a multiracial person. The more rare the racial mix, the lower the chances for a match.

There is a way to help mitigate this problem - cord blood. Cord blood is the blood from a baby's umbilical cord which is normally thrown away after delivery. The match doesn't have to be as close and it's high in blood growing cells. Many doctors are now encouraging mothers to donate their newborn's cord blood as a way of helping someone in need.
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