Yale New Haven Hospital hosts bone marrow donor drive

3/25/2011 — Yale New Haven Hospital and the Rhode Island Blood Center's Be The Match Marrow Donor Program have teamed up for a marrow donor registration drive at Yale New Haven Hospital on Wednesday, April 13.

The drive will take place at in the hospital's East Pavilion cafeteria at the 20 York Street entrance from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We are once again looking to create awareness and help people find ways to save lives and help others by donating blood stem cells or bone marrow," said Stuart Seropian, MD, medical oncologist and director of the National Marrow Donor Program at Yale New Haven Hospital.

"If medicine and other treatments fail for patients with leukemia, they may be candidates for a bone marrow transplant," Dr. Seropian explained. "A transplant requires matching tissue types between the patient and donor. Tissue types are inherited, and 70 percent of patients do not have a matched donor in their family. These patients and those without siblings turn to the Be The Match Registry operated by the National Marrow Donor Program to find a match."

By the end of this year, it is expected that 50 patients will have received a bone marrow transplant at Yale New Haven Hospital. Nationally, the National Marrow Donor Program facilitated more than 5, 200 transplants in 2010. The Be The Match registry includes more than 9 million people who have volunteered to donate marrow or blood stem cells to any patient, anywhere in the world.

"We strongly encourage minority groups to attend our drive because minorities are underrepresented in the registry," said Dr. Seropian." "Recipients have the best chance of finding a match within their own ethnic group, and the national registry needs more registered donors among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and American Indians."

Potential donors will complete a consent form, fill out a health questionnaire and give a sample of cheek cells from the inside of the mouth using four sterile cotton swabs. Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in reasonably good health.

"Since it began operations in 1987, the NMDP has facilitated more than 43,000 marrow or blood stem cell transplants for patients who do not have matching donors in their families," said Nicole Pineault, account executive for the Be The Match Registry at the Rhode Island Blood Center.

"We're thrilled that Yale New Haven is working with us to add more donors. Their generosity offers hope to the 10,000 patients a year in need of an unrelated transplant."

For more information on the donor drive contact Nicole Pineault at the Rhode Island blood center at 401.248.5720 and/or npineault@ribc.org. For questions specific to YNHH, email Susan Faraone, R.N., Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant coordinator at susan.faraone@ynhh.org. If you cannot attend the drive on April 13 and are interested in registering online, please visit join.BeTheMatch.org/ribc or www.ribc.org.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. www.ynhh.org

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