Rotary blood bank, German NGO to start stem cell registry in City

Bangalore Medical Services Trust (BMST), popularly known as Rotary Bangalore TTK Blood Bank, on Monday signed a ‘term sheet’ with DKMS—the German Bone Marrow Donor Centre—to establish a non-profit, joint venture company to start a stem cell registry in India, which will be based in Bengaluru.

DKMS, the world leader in the field of stem cell registry, co-ordinates many transplants every day the world over. It has decided to join hands with BMST for setting up this project in Bengaluru for the Indian-origin patients. After months of discussions and mutual visits by DKMS executives and BMST trustees, the joint venture company was proposed to be set up in Bengaluru subject to clearances from the Union and State governments.

Speaking to Deccan Herald on the occasion of the signing of the term sheet, TTK Blood Bank chairman K N Prabhashankar said setting up of the registry was the need of the hour. “We have already established the Rotary TTK, a full-fledged blood bank. This additional facility will help more patients,” he hoped.

DKMS would take the responsibility of donor recruitment, medical department, IT infrastructure and customised DKMS software, provide interface with national/international registries and laboratories and staff training.

BMST would take the  responsibility of donor recruitment, communication with the stakeholders, staff support, follow up with Indian regulatory authorities apart from assisting in running the set up. This stem cell registry would be national-level registry and the new venture, once its becomes functional, will recruit about one million donors in eight to 10 years.

Latha Jagannathan, medical director and managing trustee of BMST, who explained the importance of having such a registry, said India needed about one million donors. “In about 30 per cent cases, the sibling’s cells are found to match. For others, we will need a voluntary donor.”

Such a registry with a large reach would address the need. Apart from a registry in Mumbai and Datri (an NGO), the proposed one in Bengaluru will be a boon for patients with blood-related problems. Rotary Club of Bangalore is celebrating 80 years this year and BMST its 30th years. The new project has been taken up to mark the occasion.

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