KOCHI:When Chennai-based stem cell donor registry DATRI identified a 22-year-old Gujarati girl for donating stem cell to a 17-year-old boy, it had to convince not only the donor, but also her parents, fiance, his parents, the family doctor and the Patel community to which the family belonged.
“In India, no decision is individual. Finally, when the stem cell transplantation was progressing, around 50 members of the Gujarati girl’s family were waiting in the hospital.
“Our mission is to create awareness among the public - from the common man to the medical fraternity itself,” said DATRI founder Raghu Rajagopal, shedding light on the various challenges the organisation faces.
However, Raghu is happy that the task of educating the public is much easier in Kerala than in many other states, as the people here are more aware.
“From 2013 to 2015, around 18,500 Keralites registered with DATRI, of which 14 persons have already donated stem cell. There are plenty of hospitals and healthcare centres here, which is not the case with the majority of the other states,” said the 47-year-old engineer who is specialised in technology engineering.
Raghu launched the non-profit organisation in 2009, taking inspiration from an incident occurred in the US wherein the healthcare team faced great difficulties in finding donor for a leukaemia patient of India-Pakistan origin.
“Ethnicity plays a big role when it comes to blood stem cell donation,” he said. DATRI, which has forged a tie-up with Dr Nezih Cereb and Dr Soo Young Yang, has 94,000 registries across the country, and has provided donors for 110 transplantations.
“In the procedure called ‘peripheral blood stem cell donation’, blood is drawn from the right arm of the donor, passed through a machine that harvests the blood stem cells and sent back into the donor’s body through the left arm. It is very safe,” said Raghu.
Blood stem cell donation is typically recommended for people with fatal blood disorders such as leukaemia, thalassemia, lymphoma and CDG, among others.
For details, contact Aby Sam John at DATRI, Kochi, on 9947310214.