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Leukaemia Foundation Welcomes Government Initiatives to Boost Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Donor Registry

Leukaemia Foundation 3 mins read

Wednesday March 20, 2024 - The Leukaemia Foundation welcomes two significant developments aimed at increasing the number and diversity of bone marrow and stem cell donors across Australia.  

These initiatives represent an important step forward in the fight against blood cancers, including leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. Over 140,000 people live with blood cancer nationally.  

The Albanese Government and state and territory Health Ministers, have committed to enhancing the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) through a $4.2 million funding boost from the Cord Blood Export Revenue (CBER) fund. This investment aims to increase local bone marrow donor recruitment, diversify the donor pool, and improve access to bone marrow transplants for Australian patients. 

In parallel, the Victorian Legislative Assembly Legal and Social Issues Committee has released its report, "Register and talk about it," from the 'Inquiry into increasing the number of registered organ and tissue donors.' The Leukaemia Foundation played an active role in this Inquiry, including appearing at the public hearing and providing a written submission. 

The report highlights the need for greater awareness and registration for stem cell donations, recommending strategies to expand the Strength to Give campaign and facilitate donor recruitment. 

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Mr. Chris Tanti expressed his strong support for these initiatives, stating, "These announcements mark an important moment in our ongoing battle against blood cancers. By increasing the number and diversity of donors, we are not just enhancing our registry; we are saving lives. The Leukaemia Foundation is proud to stand with the government and our partners in this crucial endeavour." 

"The commitment from governments to address the critical need for more bone marrow and stem cell donors is commendable. These efforts align perfectly with our mission to ensure that every Australian diagnosed with a blood cancer has access to the best possible care, including life-saving transplants." Chris Tanti added 

Over 600 Australians with blood cancer require donated stem cells for a transplant each year. With not enough Australians registered on the ABMDR to be stem cell donors, around 3 in 4 stem cell donations must be sourced internationally. Australia’s donor pool is declining and cannot meet the needs of diverse patients because it is small and inadequately diverse.  

In May 2022, Nikiya Love was diagnosed with blood cancer when 17 weeks pregnant, and eventually found a donor from Germany. She is a strong advocate for donating blood and encourages others to join the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry if they are eligible.  

“This is really important, and I feel strongly about it. I want to do everything I can in my power to raise awareness. There are not many people that know about it unless they’re in the industry or know of somebody going through blood cancer.” 

A stem cell transplant for some blood cancer patients can provide a long-term cure if successful, and for some may be a last resort therapy. 

The Leukaemia Foundation has been at the forefront of advocacy for improved access to stem cell transplants, participating in inquiries, submitting recommendations, and engaging with policymakers. 

"Our dedication to this cause is unwavering. We believe that through collaboration and sustained effort, we can overcome the challenges of blood cancer together," Tanti concluded. 

The Leukaemia Foundation remains committed to supporting patients in need of stem cell transplants through advocacy and partnership with government bodies, healthcare providers, and the community. These recent developments are a testament to what can be achieved when we unite for a common goal: to give every Australian fighting blood cancer a chance at a better future. 

For more information on the Leukaemia Foundation's initiatives and how to support stem cell donation, please visit https://www.leukaemia.org.au/get-involved/bone-marrow-donor/.  

For media enquiries or to interview a spokesperson, please call 0478 300 507. 

-END- 

About the Leukaemia Foundation: 

The Leukaemia Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to helping those with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and related blood disorders survive and then live a better quality of life. With a focus on research, patient support, and advocacy, the Foundation is committed to a future where no Australian has to face blood cancer alone. You can learn more about the Leukaemia Foundation and blood cancer at leukaemia.org.au 

 

 

 

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