Yes, it is possible to find a bone marrow match. Though the process of bone marrow transplant is very complicated still it can be made successful by closely matching the HLA or human leukocyte antigen of the patient with the HLA of registered bone marrow or stem cell donor.
When bone marrow transplant is needed?
A bone marrow transplant is required to a person when his blood is not capable to fight nay health problem. Generally, the bone marrow transplants are of two types including:
Autologous in which stem cells of the patient can be transplanted
Allogeneic in which the stem cells of some donor are used to transplant
How to match HLA?
The method of matching the HLA of the patient and the donor is more complicated than matching the types of blood. HLA is a marker or protein found in most of the cells in the human body. These HLA markers are used by your immune system to recognize the cells that belong to your body. The type of tissues of a person is unique because there are various types of HLA markers. So to make a bone marrow transplant successful it is very important to match the HLA markers of the patient and the donor.
How HLA is closely matched?
Most of the potential bone marrow and stem cell donors with the types of their HLA are registered to ‘Be the Match’ registry. The donors have to provide their DNA sample of the swab of their cheek to the registry while joining it. This sample is tested for matching at least 6 HLA markers for a bone marrow transplant.
The doctor of the patient normally chooses various bone marrow or stem cell donors to match the basic HLA of the patient. Then these donors are told by the doctor to undergo certain other tests including the test of cheek swab and blood tests etc. After these additional tests, it can be decided that the HLA markers of which donor can match closely to the HLA markers of the patient.
After completing the additional tests nearly 8% of the donors proceed for the process of donating bone marrow. The donor is considered as the best and closest match to the HLA of the patient if he is asked to donate his bone marrow.
Who should be the donor?
There is a myth that the donor of bone marrow must be a member of the family of the patient. But it is not true.
In fact, when a bone marrow transplant is required to a person, adult or child, then, first of all, the members of his family are asked to donate their bone marrow or stem cells. If any of them agrees then his bone marrow is matched by conducting tests to match the HLA of the donor with that of the patient. The chances of getting matching HLA can be higher with siblings even than parents. According to records, nearly 30% of the patients requiring bone marrow transplants get bone marrow from their siblings after matching them properly.
Thus it is possible to find a match for bone marrow transplant.
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Gift of Life Marrow Registry Address: 800 Yamato Rd suite 101 Boca Raton, FL Phone: (800) 962-7769