LOS ANGELES — Karine Tshgnavoryan would have never known that only she could have helped save the life of her brother in Australia, if a month ago the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry had not started to look for a stem cell donor match in Armenia.
“In this case, since the patient in Australia is of Armenian descent, the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry at once contacted us, requesting that we try to find a local donor match,” said Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan, the medical director of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
As soon as Nazaretyan and his staff identified a matched donor in Armenia, namely Karine Tshgnavoryan, they notified their colleagues in Australia and went on to collect stem cells from her. The non-invasive harvesting procedure, which takes only four hours, was performed at the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan, on February 9. Since the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry is a member of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, the process of shipping the harvested stem cells to Australia was implemented immediately.
“Our registry is linked with 67 national registries across the globe, which means that once a matched donor is identified, the process of shipping out the harvested stem cells for the patient suffering from a life-threatening blood-related illness is performed with absolutely no delay,” said Dr. Sevak Avagyan, the executive director of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. “To date, matched donors in our registry have saved the lives of 25 patients worldwide, including non-Armenians. Karine Tshgnavoryan is our latest matched donor. Days like this make our work all the more worthwhile.”
To date, the registry has recruited more than 28,000 donors in 28 countries across four continents, identified more than 3,500 patients, and facilitated 25 bone marrow transplants. For more information, visit abmdr.am.