Approximately 30 years ago, the Tissue Typing Laboratory at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel was created to serve a newly launched cadaver-kidney organ sharing program. The mandate of the Sheba Medical Center has evolved over the years from organ donation to include HLA typing for bone marrow transplants. The medical center performs approximately 140 pediatric and adult bone marrow transplants per year. Dr. Ephraim Gazit and his team are responsible for HLA typing in the laboratory for a variety of purposes including: HLA disease studies, to identify potential bone marrow donors in families and in the general population, to build a bone marrow registry and for organ transplantation.
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France’s national agency for bone marrow transplants, the France Greffe de Moelle Registry, manages bone marrow donors from all over France, which currently numbers over 200,000. To many people, this number seems large. To those in need of a bone marrow transplant, the number can be insufficient. Each year, 2000 people in France with serious blood diseases (leukemia, lymphoma) can be treated with a bone marrow transplant, giving these patients an additional chance of recovery. The demand for bone marrow transplants grows each year and with the chance of a match between a donor and recipient at 1 in one million (and more difficult for certain ethnicities), an even larger database of donors is required to meet demand.
Last week, we unveiled an innovative award program that is designed to increase donor recruitment for Marrow Donor Registries. The DNA Genotek HLA Event Collection Award is designed to facilitate high-impact, event-based DNA collections using DNA from saliva. With this award program, DNA Genotek will provide saliva-based DNA collection kits and marketing materials to support a successful event-based collection. The program is intended for innovative event collection projects which may not be possible without saliva-based collection.
Many readers of The Genetic Link will be familiar with DNA Genotek’s involvement in event-based collections for breast cancer, epilepsy and for bone marrow donor registries. Most recently, we learned that the Oragene•DNA product was involved in another such event, although with a slightly different approach. The event was a campaign-based recruitment for the HLA-typing laboratory at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy to increase the number of donors in the registry. So what does this have to do with basketball? It all comes back to a man named Tarcisio Vaghi. Tarscisio was a professional basketball coach for the Legadue Castelletto Ticino with a career that covered many professional teams in Italy.
As I mentioned in the first article I wrote a few weeks ago, I work in an HLA (human leukocyte antigen) laboratory. In the first article, I talked about what HLA typing is and how it works for transplantation (particularly for leukemia patients). I promised to follow-up with details on how Oragene fits in the HLA typing market.
Today, DNA Genotek announced our involvement in a significant pilot project with the UK's largest bone marrow registry, the Anthony Nolan Trust. The details of this exciting project follow:
DNA Genotek, a leading provider of products for biological sample collection, stabilization and preparation, today announced that The Anthony Nolan Trust, the UK's largest bone marrow donor registry, has selected Oragene•DNA for a pilot project aimed at increasing donor recruitment. Bone marrow donor registries, also known as HLA registries, use HLA DNA testing to match leukemia patients with prospective donors. The pilot project will determine if donor recruitment can be increased significantly with the use of non-invasive, saliva-based DNA collection compared to blood collection.
Saliva is one of the most accessible of our body's bio-fluids making saliva sample collection easy and non-invasive. Saliva also harbours a wide spectrum of genetic data that can be used for genetic research and clinical diagnostic applications. It might surprise you to know that much confusion surrounds the source of genomic DNA in saliva. It certainly came as a surprise to me when I met with a number of customers on a recent trip across the continent.