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05 Nov 2014 2 Comments

Most patients in the USA have a matching cord blood unit. How long before India gets there?

In an ideal world, every patient requiring a transplant would be able to find a matching stem cell unit. Based on a study conducted by the National Marrow Donor Program (Be the Match), it looks like MOST patients in USA now have a matching cord blood match.

Major policy initiatives in the US such as the National Cord Blood Program which had allocated $75 million to create a public repository of over 100,000 units of umbilical cord blood, and a Cord Blood Awareness and Education Act that makes it mandatory for practitioners to create awareness on umbilical cord blood stem cells among expectant parents has ensured that within just 10 years of these initiatives, over 90% of patients in the US can now find a matching cord blood unit.

How long before India, with over 70% of patients unable to find a matching donor, measures up to this?

As per this blog post on Parents Guide to Cord Blood, the scope for patients in the US to find a matching stem cell unit is very promising:

The cord blood inventory is currently 193,00 in the NMDP network or 731,280 worldwide.

Odds of finding a matching cord blood unit among patients in USA:

Age Probability of finding a match
Below 20 ~ 100%
Over 20 80%*

*regardless of racial or ethnic background

It is also noteworthy that the published cord blood matching also takes into account the range of weights among patients and the range of cell doses in the inventory. Every patient below 20 years of age can find a unit with the adequate cell dose and about 80% of the adult patients can find a match that is close enough a match and adequate enough for a transplant.

Additionally, NMDP registry has over 11 million potential adult donors and has access to 22 million donors that can be searched on international registries

The odds of finding a perfectly matched (8/8 adult donor) among patients in USA:

Racial group Probability of finding a match
White European Patients 75%
Most other racial groups 30 - 50%

When ongoing researches to make cord blood transplants engraft faster are successful, cord blood would become the natural choice for transplants.

The scene in India pales in comparison. Over Every year, around 1.2 lakh new blood cancer patients and 10 lakh new Thalassemia patients emerge. 70% of patients requiring a transplant are able to find neither a matching cord blood unit nor adult stem cell donors, owing to lack of public inventory. Earlier this year, LifeCell launched its public umbilical cord stem cell bank with the aim of creating an inventory of 10000 units. Read More Here



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