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Czech registry seeking marrow donors from minorities - press

Prague, 10.5.2007 15:36, (CTK)

The Czech National Registry of Marrow Donors is seeking donors from ethic minorities who have unique genes different from the majority Czech population, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today.

Members of the same ethnic minority, such as Romanies, Kurds, Arabs or Jews, have usually very similar combinations of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) crucial for transplants, so patients from minority groups need marrow donors of the same ethnicity.

There are very few such donors in the Czech registry and similar problems are also in other countries. Consequently, if a person from an ethnic minority suffers form leukaemia, for instance, there is no suitable marrow donor registered in the Czech Republic, LN says.

Vladimir Koza, head doctor of the oncological ward at the Plzen Teaching Hospital, west Bohemia, told the paper that every marrow donor from an ethnic minority is unique for the Czech registry that has already succeeded in gaining first voluntary donors from the Romany and Arab community living in the Czech Republic.

"Now we are planning an Arabic evening where we will seek further donors. When we staged a similar event in Plzen, we found some 30 people," Koza told the paper, adding that these donors were also unique in the international network.

The Czech National Registry of Marrow Donors, set up in Plzen in 1992, has called on minority members to donate marrow."Our appeal is primarily addressed to young, educated members of ethnic minorities who live, work and start families in the Czech Republic," the registry says on its website.

However, Koza pointed out that people from ethic minorities often travel a lot and move from place to place, and this is why it could be difficult to contact a suitable donor if a transplant is acutely needed.

Koza stressed that promotion events to find new donors among ethnic minorities are very useful as "people are dying whose lives could be saved."

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