Blood cancer charity DKMS and The Christie collaborate to bring accessibility to donors
Manchester/London, 27 July 2023 - DKMS, the largest network of blood stem cell donor centres in the world, and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe, proudly announce their partnership to open a new DKMS stem cell collection centre. Marking this noteworthy collaboration, the first stem cell donation was completed last month.
Taking place last month at The Christie in Manchester, the first donor, Joshua, stepped forward to become the first of many life-saving stem cell donors. "I was absolutely buzzing to find out that I was a match for someone and that I could potentially give them a second chance at life!" Joshua said, reflecting the excitement and eagerness to make a difference to the life of a stranger.
Before this collaboration, DKMS’ donors in North West England, when matched to a patient, had to travel to collection centre sites in either Sheffield or London, limiting the availability of the already generous donors' capacity to give. Under this new partnership, The Christie will facilitate stem cell collections from donors on the DKMS registry to provide treatments to those suffering from blood cancers and disorders.
Stephan Schumacher, Interim CEO at DKMS UK, expressed his delight in working alongside The Christie to establish the new DKMS stem cell collection centre. "The Christie is the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe and the first UK centre to be accredited as a comprehensive cancer centre, and we are confident that our donors will receive the highest standard of care during their donation process," he said. This partnership enables DKMS UK to expand its services and improve access for donors.
"In 2022, DKMS supported over 7,700 patients globally with stem cell and bone marrow transplants. Together, we are now able to serve even more donors to support someone who has blood cancer or a blood disorder," Stephan Schumacher added. With DKMS registering donors between the ages of 17-55, the collaboration anticipates welcoming and facilitating more donations from potential lifesavers in the North of England through this partnership.
Every 20 minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer, and worldwide it’s every 27 seconds. Many patients cannot survive without a life-saving stem cell donation, and for many, every day counts. Being the largest registry in the country, DKMS has registered over 980,000 people in the UK; however, this only accounts for 3% of the eligible population.
Once a registered donor is matched with a patient, there are two possible donation methods. The first, making up around 90% of donations, is when stem cells are collected directly from the bloodstream during an outpatient appointment at a hospital, known as peripheral blood stem cell collection. The other, which accounts for 10% of donations, involves collecting stem cells from the pelvic bone under general anaesthesia, known as bone marrrow collection.
The collected blood stem cells are then transplanted into the patient in a procedure similar to a blood transfusion, meaning the part of the donor is complete. Their incredible donation will help to give someone a second chance at life.
Professor Adrian Bloor, Consultant Haematologist at The Christie, emphasised the significance of stem cell transplantation. "The success of the treatment is critically dependent on the identification of a matched donor," he said. “The Christie has an established stem cell collection unit working in collaboration with national donor registries and is now excited to work with DKMS UK to expand its service, providing stem cells for patients undergoing life-saving treatment in the UK and across the world.”
The new centre at The Christie is expected to complete around 60 collections in its first year. With this initiative, DKMS is excited to increase access to their current and future donors and offer more lifesaving opportunities to those in need.
Joshua's inspiring donation experience highlights the constant support he received from the dedicated staff at The Christie. "The donation at The Christie went very smoothly; the staff were amazing and very helpful and made the process very easy. They were always on hand if I needed something," he recalled. Joshua felt an immense sense of pride in his life-saving act and hopes it encourages his family, friends, and others to join the register, recognising that a few days' time could save the life of someone's loved one.
Both The Christie and DKMS UK extend their heartfelt gratitude to Joshua and all donors who come forward to register as potential stem cell donors, making a profound difference in the lives of patients facing blood cancer and blood disorders.
To register and find out more about other opportunities with DKMS, please visit: https://www.dkms.org.uk/.
DKMS is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to saving the lives of patients with blood cancer and blood disorders. Founded in Germany in 1991 by Dr Peter Harf, DKMS and the organisation’s over 1,100 employees have since relentlessly pursued the aim of giving as many patients as possible a second chance at life.
With over 11.5 million registered donors, DKMS has succeeded in doing this more than 105,000 times to date by providing blood stem cell donations to those in need. This accomplishment has led to DKMS becoming the global leader in the facilitation of unrelated blood stem cell transplants. The organisation has offices in Germany, the US, Poland, the UK, Chile and South Africa. In India, DKMS has founded the joint venture DKMS-BMST together with the Bangalore Medical Services Trust. International expansion and collaboration are key to helping patients worldwide because, like the organisation itself, blood cancer knows no borders.
DKMS is also heavily involved in the fields of medicine and science, with its own research unit focused on continually improving the survival and recovery rate of patients. In its high-performance laboratory, the DKMS Life Science Lab, the organisation sets worldwide standards in the typing of potential blood stem cell donors.
The Christie is a specialist cancer centre in Manchester and has more than 120 years of expertise in cancer care, research and education. It is one of Europe’s leading cancer centres, treating over 60,000 patients a year.
It is the largest provider of radiotherapy in the NHS, including high energy proton beam therapy and MR guided radiotherapy. It is home to the largest chemotherapy unit in the UK; and is a specialist surgical centre concentrating on rare cancers and complex procedures.
The Christie is one of Europe's largest experimental cancer medicine centres with around 650 clinical studies ongoing at any one time.
The Christie Charity provides enhanced services for patients over and above what the NHS funds.
Visit www.christie.nhs.uk to find out more or follow The Christie on social media @TheChristieNHS.