BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION
Bone marrow transplantation is a treatment option for somepeople suﬀering from life-threatening blood or immune system diseases. It can also be a treatment option for a number of hereditary hematological disorders like thalassemia.
Bone marrow is the soﬅ, spongy tissue in the bones where blood cells are produced. It contains stem cells, which develop into the mature cells of our blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. During bone marrow transplantation the damaged bone marrow of a patient is replaced with the healthy bone marrow stem cells from a volunteer donor. Aﬅer transplantation the new stem cells take over blood cell production.
For a bone marrow transplantation to take place, a matchingdonor must be found ﬁrst. Ηistocompatibility, or otherwise the tissue similarity of two individuals, is determined by the histocompatibility antigens called the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA). These antigens are inherited and serve as the molecular identity of our immune system. Due to thefact that they are highly variable, ﬁnding two individuals with the same tissue type is particularly diﬃcult.
The search for a suitable donor for a patient begins among the patient’s siblings, who have 25% chance of being compatible. There are, however, many patients that cannot ﬁnd a donor among their close family members, therefore a search should be undertaken among unrelated volunteer donors who are able and willing to donate bone marrow to any patient in need.
BONE MARROW COLLECTION PROCEDURE
In the event that you are found compatible with a patient, you will be asked for further laboratory testing by providing a fresh blood sample. If you are then selected to provide a bone marrow graﬅ, you will undergo a thorough medical examination in order to ensure that you are in good health and be provided with more detailed information about the collection process that will follow. You will be asked to decide whether you would like to proceedwith the donation and sign a consent form. Bone marrow is collected in two ways:
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.