In Singapore, every year, about 40% - 60% of patients needing a haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) to survive are unable to find a suitable stem cell match from bone marrow donors and other public cord blood banks. This is because only one in four patients can find a match amongst siblings and most of the bone marrow and cord blood registries around the world are not from Asian populations like ours. Patients are more likely to find a good stem cell match amongst donors from their own ethnic group.
Donation of cord blood to a centralised public cord blood bank such as the SCBB increases the number of cord blood units available to all potential stem cell transplant patients. This increases the chances of finding a match for the patient, offering hope and a chance of a cure.
Donation is even more urgent when we know that ethnicity plays an important role in finding a stem cell match. Storing umbilical cord blood unit that matches the ethnicity of the population is critical in helping to save lives of needy patients.