European Week of leukaemia: 21st to 18th July
More bone marrow donors, more opportunities of healing • The number of bone marrow donors increases 31% in relation to 2005 • Spain has 3.000 umbilical cord blood units more than last year. Each day 11 persons in Spain receive a hard diagnose: leukaemia. Despite recovery rates have increased a lot in the last years due to scientific progress; we still lose 30% of children and 50% of adults. In relation to May 2005, the number of new bone marrow donors has increased by 31%. Since the beginning of this year, more than 2.400 persons have been added to the Spanish Bone Marrow Donors Registry (REDMO), managed by the Josep Carreras Foundation. The umbilical cord banks have 3.000 units more than the last year. The average to find a donor is 51 days. Since January 2006, REDMO has found more than 226 compatible bone marrow volunteer donors for 168 Spanish patients, 13% more than in 2005. Spanish Public Hospitals have performed 102 transplants from non-relatives donors, 32% more than the last year. 13 foreign patients have been transplanted this year from Spanish bone marrow donors and 40 from umbilical cord blood unities of Spanish cord banks; 40% and 150% more respectively than in 2005. A hard moment: the transplant All cancer treatments are long and hard. In the case of leukaemia, quite frequently the patient has to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, only 1 of 4 patients has a relative donor compatible. The rest has to find a donor through the Bone Marrow Registry. REDMO is the program responsible for the promotion and search of volunteer bone marrow donors in Spain. Until now, the Josep Carreras Foundation has found a compatible donor for more than 2.000 patients, this has allow more than 1.000 bone marrow transplants. This success has been possible because of the solidarity of more than 10 million volunteer donors around the world, 60.000 Spanish. What does leukaemia means? Leukaemia is a type of cancer. The word cancer covers more than 100 disorders that have two important characteristics in common. The first is that some cells in the human body become anomalous. The second is that the body starts to produce large amounts of these anomalous cells. Leukaemia is an erratic multiplication of anomalous stem cells in the blood. These anomalous cells infiltrate the bone marrow and hold back the growth of normal stem cells, invading the blood and other organs. There are various types of leukaemia, which can be classified in two ways: according to how fast the illness develops or the type of blood cell that is affected: acute ones or chronic ones. Even leukaemia can affect adults an children, it is the most frequent cancer among children: 70% of children’s cancers are leukaemias.