DKMS-BMST Makes Waves at IIT Kharagpur, Registering 320 stem cell Donors and Fuelling Social Change

DKMS-BMST teamed up with IIT Kharagpur’s annual festival ‘Springfest’

Kharagpur, January 30, 2024: DKMS BMST Foundation India conducted a stem cell donor registration drive at ‘Springfest’ 2024, at IIT Kharagpur’s annual cultural and social festival to boost awareness and register potential donors.

Every year, the Springfest embraces a social cause, promoting it through diverse events and initiatives. The festival celebrates the youth’s talent and passion and serves as a platform for social change. Combining culture with a sense of social responsibility, Springfest uniquely celebrates the youth and their potential to create a positive impact.

As the festival’s official social initiative partner, DKMS-BMST set out to encourage students to become potential lifesavers by enlisting in the global registry of stem cell donors. The response was overwhelming, with 320 students registering and expressing their commitment to this noble cause. The 3-day fest was a huge success, with eminent Dr. V. Narayana, Director, Department of Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, ISRO gracing the event as the guest speaker.

In India, where over 70,000 individuals succumb to blood cancer annually, constituting 8% of new cancer cases, a blood stem cell transplant from an HLA-matching donor is a crucial lifeline. Only 25-30% of patients secure matching donors within their family, leaving 70% reliant on unrelated donors accessible through stem cell registries. Ethnic matching significantly boosts Indian patients’ chances. Every five minutes, a new case of blood cancer is diagnosed in India, posing a challenge due to the limited availability of matching donors. Despite over 41 million global donors, India contributes just 0.6 million, emphasizing the need to motivate young individuals to register.

Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India, emphasized the critical shortage of blood stem cell donors in the country, “Every five minutes, a new case of blood cancer or a blood disorder, such as Thalassemia or Aplastic Anemia, is diagnosed in India. The availability of matching blood stem cell donors remains a significant challenge for Indian patients in need of life-saving transplants. India has the youngest population, so it is crucial to encourage more young individuals to register as stem cell donors. We aim to amplify blood stem cell donation awareness through students and youth, as they represent the nation’s future.”

Steering Committee Chairperson, Springfest 2024 IIT Kharagpur, Professor Rudra Prakash Pradhan, said, “IIT Kharagpur is thrilled about the partnership with DKMS-BMST for Springfest 2024. We appreciate their significant efforts in supporting blood cancer and disorder patients. Believing in the youth’s potential to inspire, our collaboration aims to raise awareness and register more stem cell donors. I am happy that so many students have joined this noble cause.”

“We sincerely thank IIT Kharagpur and its dedicated students for their invaluable assistance in organizing this registration drive. DKMS-BMST is dedicated to conducting similar awareness and registration campaigns across educational institutions nationwide, with a special emphasis on the youth demographic. Their continued participation in the registry significantly improves the chances of locating matching donors for patients requiring assistance,’’ added Patrick Paul.

To register as a potential stem cell donor, you must be a healthy Indian adult between 18 and 55. When you are ready to register, all you need to do is complete a consent form and swab the inside of your cheeks to collect your tissue cells. Your tissue sample is then sent to the lab to be analyzed for your HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) and listed anonymously on the international search platform for matching stem cell donors.

Today, thousands of Indian patients are waiting for their matching stem cell donor to undergo a lifesaving stem cell transplantation. Their situation can only be changed by recruiting many potential blood stem cell donors from India. If you’re eligible, take the first step to register as a blood stem cell donor by ordering your home swab kit at www.dkms-bmst.org/register

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