With over 125,000 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot volunteer donors registered, the Bone Marrow Donor Registry of Karaiskakio Foundation represents the biggest per capita Donor Registry worldwide. The Registry operates under strict rules and has been accredited by the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) since 2008. The importance of the Bone Marrow Donor Registry, for the Cypriot patients residing in Cyprus and abroad, is immense since the chance of finding a matching donor is greater amongst people of the same descend. In addition, the Cypriot Bone Marrow Donor Registry dynamically participates in the International Donor Registry giving Cypriot volunteer donors the opportunity to donate to any patient requiring a bone marrow transplant worldwide.
The Karaiskakio Foundation has received funding under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism in the Programming Period 2009-2014, for upgrading part of its infrastructure, advancement of expertise on the subject, promotion of public awareness and enhancement the bone marrow donor registry in Cyprus. Aiming to improve public health and reduce health inequalities, through the proposed project, the Karaiskakio Foundation has enhanced its local health infrastructure with the establishment of a state-of-the art, specialised Childhood Cancer Diagnostic Laboratory which provides diagnostic support to the paediatric and other cancer patients.
The establishment of the Childhood Cancer Diagnostic Laboratory contributes towards:
• Technological progress in the diagnostic field and better understanding of cancer pathology, improvement of patient health and reduction of health inequalities
• Integrated and comprehensive analysis at the early stage of disease identification and classification, management, and treatment
• Structured, systematic and comprehensive laboratory support to patients, hence minimizing the time needed for diagnosis
• Opportunities to young scientists to excel in the field of cancer, invest in people through education
• Increase Social Awareness on cancer.
A parallel objective of the project is the enhancement of the Bone Marrow Donor Registry with new volunteer donors. The challenge is to find the means to attract and to cultivate the feeling of altruism in young adults, through modern means of communication (e.g., apps, social media, self-service stations, short videos etc).
The project further enhances the collaboration of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot Communities in Cyprus.
The Karaiskakio Foundation is already engaged in bi-communal collaboration through the Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the greatest in significance and size bi-communal project since 1974. The Kemal Saracoglu Association (a Turkish Cypriot NGO) actively supports the Karaiskakio Foundation in contacting donors and serves as a contact point to help Turkish Cypriot patients and physicians to access the services of the Foundation. Furthermore, the Karaiskakio Foundation is providing both diagnostic and donor search services free of charge to all leukaemia and cancer patients from both the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot community.