The stem cell donor (fourth from left) with ABMDR staff, including Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan (far left) and Dr. Sevak Avagyan (far right), and the international courier who personally delivered the donated stem cells to Germany.

Yerevan Man Donates Stem Cells to Help Save His Sister’s Life


LOS ANGELES — On April 10, a Yerevan resident, Garik Petrosyan, donated bone marrow stem cells for an urgent transplant that might help her sister survive a life-threatening blood-related illness.

The harvesting of the donated stem cells is the 42nd such procedure to be performed by the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR). The painless, non-invasive harvesting took place at ABMDR’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center, in the Armenian capital.

Petrosyan said that from the very first day that a donor match was being sought for her sister, who lives in Germany, he had a feeling he would end up being identified as a match, for a chance to save her life. As soon as Petrosyan was notified that he was in fact identified as a matched donor for his sister, he eagerly reported to the ABMDR headquarters, where he underwent the preliminary phase of the stem cell harvesting and subsequently the harvesting itself.

The stem cell donor during the harvesting procedure, pictured with Arevik, an ABMDR nurse.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, the Stem Cell Harvesting Center’s resident physician. Also present were ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan, Medical Director Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan, and other lab personnel. Within mere hours of the procedure, the harvested stem cells arrived in Germany, personally delivered by a specially-licensed international courier.

As stated by ABMDR President Dr. Frieda Jordan, “Every transplant is a challenge, involving the work of many specialists. But once the process is set in motion, everyone involved focuses on a single goal, which is to get the donated stem cells to the patient as quickly as possible for helping them survive a potentially fatal illness.”

Anyone in good health between the ages of 18 and 50 can register with ABMDR as a potential bone marrow stem cell donor, for a chance to save someone’s life. Given the unique genetic makeup of ethnic Armenians, ABMDR needs to maintain a robust global registry of Armenian donors.

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