Nolan appgLocal MP Mark Tami joined MPs of all parties in Parliament for an event supported by the charity Anthony Nolan. Mr Tami is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Stem Cell Transplantation. He spoke at the event that celebrated the number of potential lifesavers who have signed up to the UK’s stem cell donor registry to help in the fight against blood cancer.

The charity has revealed that in the last year, over 133,000 people signed up to the UK’s stem cell donor registry to become potential donors. Young, male donors – the ‘gold standard’ donors preferred by transplant centres – were up by 15 per cent. But Anthony Nolan stresses that there is always more work to do. The more people that are on the register, the more lives can be saved.
Now, Mark Tami is encouraging more people from ethnic minorities to join the register as they are still under-represented. Currently, 69 per cent of patients with white Northern European genetic heritage receive the best possible match, and this drops dramatically to 20.5 per cent if you’re from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Mark Tami MP said: “I’m incredibly proud of the increase in the number of registered stem cell donors and this really is a testament to the hard work put in by organisations like Anthony Nolan and the NHS Stem Cell Registry.”

“Being co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Stem Cell Transplantation, I work closely with these organisations so I have had first-hand experience of the incredible work that goes on behind the scenes.”

“I am delighted to see such a good turnout at today’s event as it shows how many people recognise the importance of this issue.”

“Although significant inroads have been made to create a younger and more ethnically diverse register, there is still much more that needs to be done to diversify the register to ensure that every single person in need is able to find a lifesaving match, regardless of their genetic heritage.”

When someone in the UK needs a transplant, a search for a matching donor takes place. If there is no suitable match on the UK register, Anthony Nolan searches the global network of international registers and imports the matching stem cells.

The single UK stem cell registry is known as the ‘Anthony Nolan and NHS Stem Cell Registry’ and made up of donors recruited by the NHS British Bone Marrow Registry, the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry and DKMS, as well as Anthony Nolan.
There are a number of ways that you can sign up to the UK’s stem cell donor registry. You can find out more information about the criteria and how to sign up at www.appg-stemcell.org.uk/signup.