Blood donors needed

London's hospitals are calling for more blood and bone marrow donors.

Pregnant women are also being urged to donate their placenta as part of a scheme to help seriously ill people with the blood that's found inside.

Pregnant women urged to donate placentas after child birth

Pregnant women in the capital are being urged to donate their placenta to a good cause, once they've given birth. Its all part of a scheme aimed at helping seriously ill people with the blood that's found inside. Our reporter Jamie Shepherd, explains.

The hospitals which have the collection facilities are St George's, Northwick Park, Watford, Luton, Dunstable, Uiversity College Hospital and Barnet Hospital.

Daughter's campaign leads to huge increase in bone marrow donors

A daughter's campaign to find a bone marrow match for her mother has led to a 500% increase in Jewish donors.

Caroline Berger appeared on ITV News in London to appeal for a donor for her mother Sharon who has been told she needs an urgent bone marrow transplant within weeks to save her life.

Caroline Berger on the progamme last night
Caroline Berger on the progamme last night

Anne O'Leary from Anthony Nolan told viewers "if someone needs a bone marrow transplant, it is often their last chance of survival. But first they need to find a matching donor, which can prove difficult for people from unusual ethnic backgrounds like Sharon.

We know that the best possible match is likely to be someone from a similar background so we’re urging all Jewish people aged 16-30 to come forward and join the register.”

Caroline describedthe search to find her mother a donor s a rac against time. She said" Although a match is most likely to come from a Jewish person withAshkenazi heritage, we would like to grow the bone marrow register so thateveryone can benefit."

Caroline and her brother Jonni have also started a twitter campaign #Spit4Mum in order to spread the word. The campaign has seen hundreds of people visit Anthony Nolan’s website, and it has also been picked up and retweeted by a number of celebrities and journalists

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Why is there the need for bone marrow donors from ethnic groups?

Some tissue types are more common in certain ethnic groups of the population, meaning that a patient is more likely to be matched with a donor from a similar ethnic background. This also increases the chances of a successful transplant.

The UK population is made up of people from many different ethnic communities. This wide range of tissue types may help to find potential stem cell donors for new patients who need transplants, both here in the UK and overseas.

You are especially needed as a stem cell donor if you are from an African, African-Caribbean, Asian, Chinese, Jewish, Eastern European or Mediterranean community.

How to become a bone marrow donor?

You can register to give bone marrow with the NHS
You can register to give bone marrow with the NHS

To become a bone marrow donor, you have to be a blood a donor first, so that your blood can be checked and you must be aged between 18 and 49 years old.

You can join when you next give blood, or at the same time as your first donation. They will then check that there is no medical reason preventing you from being both a blood donor and a stem cell donor.

You can register as a blood donor with the NHS by clicking here.

At the time of your blood donation they will take an extra blood sample, so that they can identify your tissue type for the registry from your DNA - the genetic material our bodies are made up from.

Why is there a need for bone marrow from ethnic groups?

Some tissue types are more common in certain ethnic groups of the population, meaning that a patient is more likely to be matched with a donor from a similar ethnic background. This also increases the chances of a successful transplant.

The UK population is made up of people from many different ethnic communities. This wide range of tissue types may help to find potential stem cell donors for new patients who need transplants, both here in the UK and overseas.

You are especially needed as a stem cell donor if you are from an African, African-Caribbean, Asian, Chinese, Jewish, Eastern European or Mediterranean community.

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What is bone marrow ?

Stem cells within bone marrow can help produce certain blood cells and platelets
Stem cells within bone marrow can help produce certain blood cells and platelets

Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. In adults, marrow in large bones produces new blood cells which helps the body to fight disease.

On average, bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body mass of humans.

Stem cells in this bone marrow produce three important types of blood cells:

Red blood cells – which carry oxygen around the body.

White blood cells – which help fight infection.

Platelets – which help stop bleeding.

Diseased or damaged bone marrow can be replaced by donated bone marrow, which helps treat, and often cure, many serious, life-threatening conditions, including:

Bone marrow failure -(severe aplastic anaemia).

Leukaemia – cancer of the white blood cells, which has several sub-types. It can also help cure certain genetic blood.

Certain immune system disorders such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassaemia and some severe immune system diseases.