What is a bone marrow transplant?
Stem cells, also known as hematopoietic stem cells, are the cells that produce all blood cells and various other cells from different tissues. Uncontrolled growth or malfunctioning of any of these cells result in various illnesses such as leukemia, immune deficiency or bone marrow failure, among others.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplants, formerly known as bone-marrow transplants, may cure these illnesses by substituting the defective cells with new, normal cells, given by a healthy donor. The transplant can only take place via a healthy and compatible donor. Compatibility means that the cells of both donor and patient are similar enough to be able to coexist in the receptor's body.
Ideally, the donor is a sibling or immediate family member, but 70% of patients who need a transplant do not have a compatible family member. Because of this, the Registro Español de Donantes de Médula Ósea (REDMO) (Spanish Registry of Bone Marrow Donors) was founded in 1991, as for many patients, the only chance of a cure comes through an unrelated donor.
How can you become a donor?
Anyone between the ages of 18–40 is eligible to become a marrow donor. To become a member of the Registro Español de Donantes de Médula Ósea (REDMO), you need to complete a small blood test in the Transfusion Centre, with then is HLA tested (the main histocompatibility system) for compatibility.
The results of this analysis will determine the compatibility between two people. In the event that the donor is compatible, and therefore, a potential donor for a patient, further analyses are then carried out if the compatibility is approved.
In order to do the compatibility test, you must call for an appointment, and once there, sign a consent form.
Find the closest Donor Centre
Look for the Bone Marrow Donor Center closest to you:
National Bone Marrow Plan: 900 102 688
Comunidad de Madrid’s Transfusion Centre
Avenida de la Democracia s/n
91 301 72 00 (telephone switchboard)
91 301 72 58 (bone marrow donation specific switchboard)
Fax: 91 301 72 28