About DKMS

Improving access to stem cell transplantation

DKMS Group funds international support programmes for patients in low and middle-income countries.

12/07/2023

Blood cancer knows no borders. This also applies to the hereditary blood diseases such as thalassemia or sickle cell disease which can even affect young children. Patients suffering from the disease can be cured with a stem cell transplant, ideally at an early age. The need for transplants in children is therefore extremely high.

However, when it comes to gaining access to this often life-saving treatment, those in poorer regions of the world face major challenges. Patients and their families are often confronted with treatment costs they cannot afford that are not covered by their insurance. Their country’s health system may not cover it either.

In many countries, there is often a lack of adequate medical infrastructure and there are not enough trained medical healthcare professionals to ensure quality stem cell transplant (SCT) services.

Our goal is to give more patients access to the life-saving treatment they so desperately need. To this end, it is fundamentally important to reduce the financial burden and to minimise infrastructural barriers such as a lack of treatment capacity in hospitals.

We help where help is needed

“For the second chance at life, we cross borders, collaborate globally and leave no stone unturned to help patients. Every patient with blood cancer or a life-threatening blood disease such as thalassemia or sickle cell disease deserves that chance."
Dr Elke Neujahr, Global Chief Executive Officer, DKMS

“What motivates us is to serve our patients in the best possible way. Therefore, we have established several programs primarily for low- and middle-income countries and are collaborating with non-profit organisations who are fighting the same cause as us. Our common aim is always to facilitate access to blood stem cell transplantation.

“Further, qualified medical staff are crucial to ensure excellent patient care and we promote knowledge transfer and the training of doctors and specialised nursing staff.”
Dr Alexander Schmidt, Global Chief Medical Officer, DKMS

Our programmes and activities

Our activities to improve access to transplantation cover three main areas:

Giving hope for a healthy future: the DKMS Patient Funding Programme

As part of this programme, we contribute to the transplant costs of patients who would otherwise not have access to this vital treatment. One of the patients, we have already supported in this way is Jishan - read his story.

Finding the perfect match: the DKMS Free HLA Typing Programme

We support people who need a stem cell transplant in their search for a donor within their own family. We carry out HLA typing of the patients and their family members free of charge. If the search within the family is unsuccessful, we also help in the search for unrelated donors.

Empowering a better tomorrow: the DKMS Capacity Building Programme

Another important part of our work is supporting non-profit hospitals and organisations in countries with limited medical infrastructure. We provide funds so that treatment capacities can be built up and more patients can receive the medical care they so urgently need.

An example is the BMJH-Sankalp Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Bangalore, in memory of Mechtild Harf, which was fully funded by DKMS. Further qualified medical staff is crucial to ensure excellent patient care and we promote knowledge transfer and the training of doctors and specialised nursing staff.