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STLCC Science Club Hosts Successful Bone Marrow Registry Drive

March 25, 2015

bone marrow registry drive  
Members of St. Louis Community College-Wildwood’s Science Club recently hosted a bone marrow registry drive.

The Science Club at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood hosted a Bone Marrow Registry Drive on March 9 and 10 in conjunction with “Be the Match,” an organization that manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.

With encouragement from club members, 35 new people joined the registry. These students provided a sample of their DNA through a cheek swab, which is tested for a minimum of six basic human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). HLA is a protein found on most cells in the human body which lets your immune system know which cells belong in your body and which do not. Matching certain HLA markers is what is critical to a successful transplant.

A bone marrow or cord blood transplant may be the best treatment option, or the only potential cure, for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and many other diseases.

Syed Chowdhury, Ph.D., associate professor of science and sponsor of the Science Club, thought it was important to have the drive for several reasons.

“The events teach our students about different ways to give back to the community. Knowing how important and life-changing the bone marrow registry is for patients in-need is only one way students can making a lasting difference,” Chowdhury said. “The event also teaches them about how the human body works. Our original goal was to have 25 students sign up for the registry, so we are quite pleased with the outcome of the drive.”

The students also conducted a drive in the fall semester, during which 30 students signed up to as possible donors.
If one of the donors is identified as a possible match, the donor is contacted for further testing. A patient’s likelihood of finding a donor match on “Be the Match Registry” ranges from 66 percent to 97 percent, depending on race and ethnicity.