Marrow registry drive coming to MU on Monday

Sunday, November 4, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:55 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 4, 2012

COLUMBIA — MU’s Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity chapter will partner with Be the Match Registry on Monday for a marrow donation drive.

Those who register will be entered into the registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, which doctors use to search for the best match when a patient needs a transplant.

There are two types of donations: bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell. The organization may call on a registered donor to make one of the two types of donations depending on a patient's needs, said Gail Chism, account executive for Be the Match Registry.

Stem cells comprise about 73 percent of the donations, Chism said. For four or five days prior to donating stem cells, a donor receives daily injections of filgrastim, a medication that increases the number of blood-forming cells.

Then, donations are made by drawing a donor's blood from one arm, extracting the stem cells and returning the remaining blood through the donor's other arm. The procedure takes about four to six hours over one to two consecutive days.

In the less common bone marrow donation procedure, doctors collect liquid marrow from the back of the donor's pelvic bone. The donor receives anesthesia and the procedure takes about one to two hours.

Both types of donation have possible side effects. Peripheral blood stem cell donation can cause flu-like symptoms such as fatigue and headaches, and the bone marrow procedure can result in bruising and stiffness, according to DKMS Bone Marrow Donor Center.

Those who wish to register for marrow donation must be willing to go through either procedure so they can provide the type of donation a patient needs, Chism said.

Every year, marrow transplants benefit more than 10,000 people who have life-threatening diseases, according to Be the Match Registry. 

The marrow registry drive will be held from 12:45 to 5:45 p.m. Monday in the Walt Disney Room of MU’s Memorial Student Union, North Room 206.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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