The National Blood Center is inviting blood donors to register as volunteers to donate stem cells for the occasion of 2021’s World’s Stem Cell Donor Day during the 13th -18th of September 2021 at the National Blood Center or at the other 4 national blood service sectors in Chon Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai. Blood donors ready to register as volunteers to donate stem cells will receive a “Thank You Stem Cells Donor T-shirt” as a souvenir.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dutjai Chaiwanichsiri, Director of the National Blood Center of the Thai Red Cross Society, said that organizing the World Stem Cell Donor Day was set up on the 3rd Saturday of September each year as specified by the World Marrow Donor Association. This year, it falls on September 18th, 2021 as thanks to all stem cell donors and volunteers who have signed up to donate. It is also a celebration of the success of more than 38 million stem cell donation volunteers around the world. The event was first organized in 2015 with more than 55 countries participating.
In Thailand, the National Blood Center of the Thai Red Cross Society was commissioned by the Medical Council to establish the “National Hematopoietic Stem Cell Bank” to provide volunteers for hematopoietic stem cell donors, or stem cells who from non-relatives to the patients. The stem cells given to patients must also be of high quality in order to meet international standards in order to be a registration center, which has been met since 2002. Currently, there are 299,628 volunteers for stem cell donation in Thailand, but only 457 people have actually donated to patients. There are still 2,407 patients waiting for stem cell transplants to treat their blood diseases such as acute leukemia, chronic leukemia, Thalassemia, bone marrow atrophy, Lymphoma, etc.
In modern medicine, stem cell transplantation is used as a way to treat diseases, it is an alternative treatment for patients with hematological diseases to permanently get rid of these diseases. However, becoming a stem cell donor is difficult due to finding a stem cell donor with an HLA tissue that matches that of a patient is very rare. Since biological siblings have a 1 in 4 chance of a match, they must use stem cells from non-relatives which has a very low chance of being found, with the odds being at only 1 in 10,000. Therefore, the campaign to find more volunteers to donate stem cells are vital as it will increase the chances of treatment for more patients.
As for this year’s activities, there is an emphasis on awareness campaigns through the media and online sources. It invites blood donors and people who are interested to join the activities on World Stem Cell Donor Day Week 2021 as follows:
• Donate blood and register as a stem cell donor volunteer and receive a “Thank You Stem Cells Donor” t-shirt between 13th-18th of September, 2021.
• Experience the miracle of stem cell treatments that gives a new life to patients in online forums called, “Donating stem cells can save the world from crisis” on September 15, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. via Live Stream: Facebook Fanpage ศูนย์บริการโลหิตแห่งชาติ สภากาชาดไทย. There are also a lot of knowledge about stem cell donation / opportunities to listen to direct experiences from patients and donors / hear about some patient’s feelings after receiving a stem cell transplant / a Q&A where there are prizes.