Because of You!

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July 2018 – Bone Marrow Donor Registry

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Harvesting stem cells prior to transplant
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Harvesting stem cells prior to transplant

ACTIVITY SUMMARY
26 stem cell transplants, 18 from donor pools
2,887 total transplants
914,586 members in registry

 

Transplant Countries
Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, USA
Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Israel, USA Continue reading Because of You!

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Because of You!

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June 2018BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY

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Donating stem cells to save a life

36 transplants, 22 from donor pools
2,861 total transplants
912,984 members in registry

Transplant Countries
Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA

Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, UK, USA
Continue reading Because of You!

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Because of You!

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May 2018Bone Marrow Donor Registry

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Stem cells being harvested for transplant
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Stem cells being harvested for transplant

ACTIVITY SUMMARY
34 transplants, 26 from donor pools
2,825 total transplants
910,798 members in registry

 

 

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Stem cells being harvested for transplant

Transplant Countries
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Italy,
Poland, Spain, Sweden, USA

Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, UK, USA Continue reading Because of You!

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Vorkanash

memory game
Children’s matching games are fun but genetic matching can save a life!

She played matching games when she was a child. True, she wanted very much to win but losing wasn’t the end of the world. Now she is thirty. And losing this ‘matching game’ would be the end of her world… the end of her life.

She had been experiencing strong back pains for several months. When the pain intensified, she visited her doctor. Tests revealed that she had lymphocytic leukemia. Radiation and chemotherapy were not enough. Due to the aggressive character of the illness, she would have to have a stem cell transplant asap.  Within a few, short weeks! “We are in a race against time,” explained Dr. Itai Levy, head of the Hematology Department in Soroka Hospital.

Her name is Vorkanash. Continue reading Vorkanash

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Yair Wins the Lottery and Saves a Life

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Yair Moznon donating stem cells

Some people buy lottery tickets every week and sit by the phone waiting for Arela to call. I didn’t buy any ticket but I got the call anyway. Or so it seemed. In fact, it was even better. Better than winning the lottery. I got a call saying I was the only one in the world that can save the life of a thirteen-year-old boy with leukemia.  Can you imagine what that felt like? Saving a life. That’s the ultimate in goodness, in honor. And it was awarded to me! Continue reading Yair Wins the Lottery and Saves a Life

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Like Magnet to Metal

This was number five. We were experienced. My husband had the bris (circumcision) details taken care of within 24 hours of the birth while I lay in my hospital bed dreaming of his first day of school, his first two-wheeler… We did not know yet what the doctors already suspected.  That he is not expected to live long enough to ride a two-wheeler.

Preparing to feed him on his very first day of life, I noticed a rash on his head and groin. I assumed it was nothing but thought I would point it out to the nurse on duty.

It wasn’t nothing. It was a big something.  By the time he was five months, we had learned that the ‘something’ had a name: Wiscott-Aldrich – a hereditary disorder that attacks one out of every million children and affects platelets and immune system cells. The average life expectancy was no more than five years. Unless…we held tight to our chairs. There was an ‘unless’, a ‘maybe’, perhaps some hope in this black, black nightmare we found ourselves in. Continue reading Like Magnet to Metal

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A Bone Marrow Transplant: the Donating Process

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Cheek Swab Testing

Joining a Bone Marrow Registry

A potential donor’s initial contact with Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry begins with a cheek swab sample. This will enable the registry to make a preliminary determination regarding the compatibility between the donor and a patient in need of a bone marrow transplant. His genetic information will remain on the database for decades, available for any patient whose DNA matches his. Some potential donors are contacted for further testing within a year of registration, others not for 10-20 years or not at all.

Once it had been determined that a donor is a possible genetic match, things move quickly. When a patient is in need of a bone marrow transplant, time is of essence. Further testing must be done and it cannot wait. Should the patient’s condition deteriorate, the transplant, his last chance to survive, may no longer be medically feasible.

Often, if a great deal of time has elapsed since registration, the contact info is no longer valid. The internet is then surfed until the donor is located. No effort is too much when a human life is involved.

The donor is then asked if he would like to donate. The procedure is entirely voluntary and the donor has the right to refuse at the outset or at any time. No persuasion is used leaving the decision completely up to the potential donor.

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Stem Cells

In most cases, it is a stem cell transplant rather than a bone marrow transplant that takes place. This is a much simpler procedure which results in a higher percentage of potential donors agreeing to go ahead.

What do we mean by genetic match?

Human leukocyte antigens (HLA) are proteins that are present in most body cells. These antigens help identify tissue types. The immune system utilizes HLA antigens in order to identify the cells that belong in your body and the cells that do not belong in your body. If the immune system detects cells that do not belong on your body, it will reject them, thus resulting in a failed transplant.

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Blood Samples Being Tested

HLA proteins are important in determining the compatibility of donors and patients for a stem cell transplant. In order to match tissue types for a transplant, the compatibility of ten of the donor and patient antigens are checked (generally, A, DR, C, B, and DQ).

Usually, a compatibility of at least 8 out of 10 antigens is necessary in order to approve a donor for a transplant.

In addition to the basic testing, Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry is committed to supporting research to enhance results of transplants and the donor may be asked to participate in this research as part of the donation process. The decision whether to participate in the research is up to the donor.

Timing

Three weeks to several months may elapse until the patient’s attending doctor will come to a decision. The Registry staff will call the donor to inform him of the results of the compatibility confirmatory testing.

The donor may be asked to donate immediately or to wait until the patient is ready. Each case is different; the timing of the donation will be based upon what is best for the donor and for the patient. After a date has been set, the preparatory stage will continue.

At the preparatory stage before the donation, the donor will speak with the Registry staff in order to learn about the process and the risks and side effects involved in giving a donation. If he chooses to donate, he will undergo blood tests and a physical examination by a physician. A detailed questionnaire is also required in addition to a signed consent form.

 

Increasing Stem Cells in the Donor

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Donating Stem Cells

On the day of the transplant, blood is taken from the donor, much the same as if he were donating blood. The stem cells are harvested from the whole blood and the remainder returned to the donor through the second arm. The process is repeated for several hours until the required amount of stem cells (depending on the size of the patient) is obtained.  So that a large amount of stem cells be available, the donor receives neupogen injections several days before the transplant to stimulate the release of stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood stream.

 

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Life-saving bag of stem cells

The Transplant

When the required amount has been accumulated, the stem cells are then infused into the body of the patient through a central line, a painless procedure. Within 2 days to several weeks, the new cells will begin to produce red cells, white cells and platelets in place of the defective ones, thus producing a cure for many life-threatening diseases.

Bone Marrow Registry Anonymity

By international law, a registry must maintain confidentiality and strict non-disclosure of donor and patient information. This policy is for the protection of both the donor and the patient.

In order to maintain confidentiality of information, donors and patients receive an identification number. These ID numbers enable doctors to share important medical information without using names or addresses. This high level of privacy is maintained throughout the stages of the process.

Patients are informed only of the age and gender of their donor. Donors are told only of the age, gender, and disease of the recipient patient.

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You saved my life!
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You saved my life!

The patient’s identity may be revealed only after at least a year has elapsed from the date of donation and the patient has expressed his agreement to disclosure and a meeting. This meeting understandably will be highly emotional with the patient and his family trying to express the unexpressable: You saved my life!

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Because of You My Children Have an Abba (Father)

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Success of a bone marrow transplant hinges on genetic matching

Isn’t every child supposed to have both an Abba and an Ima (father and mother)? Two year old Naomi and her baby brother almost didn’t. Now their mother stood there in tears of joy when she met Aryeh. “Because of you, my children have an Abba,” she cried over and over again.

Who is Aryeh? We’ll let Abba tell that story. Continue reading Because of You My Children Have an Abba (Father)

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Two Grandpas: Their Sole Chance of Survival Was a Bone Marrow Transplant

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Would there be a genetic match for Betzalel?

At 61, Betzalel N. was just beginning grandfatherhood. He had three children and several tiny grandchildren. His drawer was filled with lollipops and his mind was filled with future plans: trips to the zoo with Grandpa, graduations, dancing at their weddings…until the day it all came crashing down. Leukemia. There would be no holding the hand of a grandchild as she gingerly feeds a baby goat at the zoo. Weddings would take place but there would be no glowing Zeidy (grandfather) to dance with the chassan (groom). It was over. He’d be gone. The doctors had tried everything and there was only one procedure left. A bone marrow transplant. If a genetically matching donor could be found somewhere in the world, he’d have a chance. If not, … Continue reading Two Grandpas: Their Sole Chance of Survival Was a Bone Marrow Transplant

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