KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Marrow Donor Registry needs a minimum 30,000 registered stem cell donors to aid hospitals in stem cell transplants.
Currently, the registry has approximately 14,300 volunteer donors and more are needed for successful compatibility match-ups between donor and the patient recipient.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre haemotologist and transplant physician consultant Prof Dr S. Fadilah Abdul Wahid said, while the registry had been operating for nine years, there had not been a successful marrow transplant match-up.
“Successful allogenic (donor to recipient) transplants always occurred between family members, especially siblings.
“However, due to our very heterogenous society, even between siblings, there could only be a 20 to 30 per cent compatibility. So, we need more donors to ensure greater probability of stem cell compatibility,” she told a press conference after the forum on stem cell transplants here today.
Stem cell transplant is a painless procedure which requires compatibility between donor and recipient before a successful operation can occur to treat cancer patients who have been conditioned with extremely strong chemotherapy which leads to the destruction of a patient’s bone marrow.
Meanwhile, touching on Muslim concerns regarding stem cell transplants, Yayasan Ilmuan lecturer Ustaz Wan Sheikh Saifudin Sheikh Mohd Salleh gave an assurance that Islamic law (hukum) allowed transplants from Muslims to non-Muslims and vice-versa.
At the event, Malaysian Human Rights Commissioner (Suhakam) Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said that from a human rights perspective, every individual had the right to a certain standard of living which included good healthcare.
“Society, as a whole, must be aware that their actions can save lives by donating stem cells.
“An enlightened society, which is where Malaysia is headed, should be donating stem cells to those who need them,” he added.
On parents who were keen on harvesting cord blood (newborn umbilical blood), Dr Fadilah advised them to donate it to a public cord blood bank and not invest it in a commercial cord blood bank.
Source: Bernama April 28 2009