Medical Concerns and Race

 

A debate is taking place on social media regarding medical concerns and the multiracial community. It is a life and death issue and should not be taken lightly. Some critics have stated that since race is a “social construct,” we are all the same biologically and there are no physical differences. Therefore, they believe, that any medical differences are non-existent and should not be studied further. They believe that the reason for not having racial classifications is that no human medical differences have been found.

Project RACE finds the critics short-sighted and their beliefs dangerous. Perhaps there are physical and/or neurological differences or maybe not. We just do not know, but that is not a reason to cancel medical studies and findings. It is not a reason to prematurely do away with racial categories, although there may be other reasons in other circumstances. We can look mostly at the area of the need for donor increase for life-saving bone marrow and the need for as close to a racial and ethnic match as possible. If there were no physical differences in these areas, why would race and ethnicity be important? Obviously, these include very specific requirements in the medical realm. We simply cannot act as if it doesn’t exist. Bone marrow matching by race and ethnicity is a critical life and death matter.

Tay-Sachs is a disease that affects mostly Jewish people. Sickle Cell Anemia is mainly found in African Americans. There are many more examples. Should we discount race as a factor in medicine? Absolutely not; we should be finding out more. We must take the high road and push for more information to be sought, unlike our critics.

It’s lovely to live in a world where you think there are no racial and/or ethnic differences and perhaps that is true, but the truth is we just don’t know—not enough work has been done. An article appeared in U. S. News and World Report by HealthDay Reporter Maureen Salamon on December 6, 2018 called “Breast Cancer Deadlier for Black Women, Despite Same Treatments, which was revealed by a new trial. They did adjust for lifestyle differences and found that some drugs were metabolized differently by racial groups. The article can be read here:

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2018-12-06/breast-cancer-deadlier-for-black-women-despite-same-treatments

And here is another plea; http://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/4-year-old-alameda-girl-diagnosed-with-rare-genetic-disorder-family-urging-donors-to-join-registry

We need more of these kinds of studies, not fewer. We need to enlarge the pool of multiracial donors for bone marrow, not act as though it’s not a problem. We have a long way to go to save lives. We can’t afford to turn away.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Multiracial Patients and Bone Marrow Donors

Minorities have lower chances of finding bone marrow donors

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – FOX 12 InvestigatorsBone marrow matches can save lives, but that cure for blood cancers depends on people being willing to donate their bone marrow.

The chances of finding a donor vary greatly depending on race and ethnicity. For example, someone who is white has a 97 percent chance of finding a bone marrow match.

However, someone who is African-American sees the chances go down to just 66 percent. A person who is mixed race or ethnicity can see their chances go down to zero.

Mixed minorities are one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S., but not enough minorities are donating to bone marrow registries and in terms of these kinds of transplants, race and ethnicity matter.

Lenore and Todd Thawley’s son Hunter died of leukemia before his fourth birthday.

Mom and dad represent our diverse country. Lenore is African-American, Indian, German and English. Todd is Korean and Caucasian.

They knew finding an exact bone marrow match for their son would likely be impossible.

They hoped with their doctors they could find something close enough, but Todd told FOX 12 they searched everywhere, across the U.S. and Europe, but came up with zero.

Lenore remembers the frustration.

“At that point, you’re like where are we? What can we do? What are our options? This or this?” she said.

Eventually, a borderline match for Hunter was found. He lived another nine months.

Todd and Lenore believe if more minorities were registered as bone marrow donors, their son might be alive today.

No matter what your race or ethnicity, anyone who considering becoming a bone marrow donor, should contact bethematch.org.

KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation.

News From Be the Match

Generous Marrow Transplant Recipient Provides $50,000 in Matching Funds
Bill, Sandra, Brent
Bill Pomeroy (R), transplant recipient, with his wife and his marrow donor, Brent. Bill’s foundation, The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, is sponsoring a $50,000 match offer to help transplant patients and their families. Give now.

Through our matching gift campaign, you have an opportunity to do so much for patients in need. The William G. Pomeroy Foundation will match the first $50,000 received by July 31, for a total of $100,000. The money will be used to:

bullet  Add new members to the Be The Match Registry®
bullet  Provide financial assistance to transplant patients
bullet  Support life-saving transplant research and education

In 2004 Bill Pomeroy was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer that takes more than 10,400 lives each year. Fortunately, Bill found a matched donor and received a transplant in 2005.

During his cancer journey, Bill learned about the urgent need to increase the ethnic diversity of the Be The Match Registry so more patients could find a match. He established The William G. Pomeroy Foundation to support the work of Be The Match®.

Since 2008, Bill’s foundation has helped register more than 20,000 potential donors, which have already produced 40 marrow matches.

Today, Bill is 11 years post-transplant, serves as a Be The Match board member, and has become good friends with the young man from Texas who donated his marrow to save his life.

To take advantage of this opportunity and help save more lives, click here to give today!

Rare Donor Found!

Mixed-race leukaemia patient given new chance of life as rare donor found following world wide appeal

Lara Casalotti needs life-saving treatment by April but her Thai-Italian heritage dramatically decreased her chances of finding a donor

Hope: A donor match has been found for Lara Casalotti

A mixed-race Leukaemia-sufferer looks set to receive life-saving bone marrow treatment after a rare donor came forward with weeks to spare.

Lara Casalotti, 24, from London, needs life-saving treatment by April but her Thai-Italian heritage dramatically decreased her chances as a mixed-race donor was needed.

Just three per cent of stem cell donors are mixed-race – and the odds stacked against Lara sparked a high-profile publicity drive to find a donor.

Since the drive, cancer charity Anthony Nolan has seen an “unprecedented” five-fold increase in the number of new applicants for its register.

The campaign, called #Match4Lara, quickly went viral and enlisted the support of celebrities including J. K. Rowling, Stephen Fry and fashion photographer Mario Testino, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and actor Mark Wahlberg.

Within days of the launch, Anthony Nolan had to change server as its website struggled to cope with the huge spike in new registrations.

Lara said she was “so thankful” a donor with a genetic match had come forward.She said: “I have always stayed hopeful that I would find one, but I realise how lucky I have been given how difficult it was to find that donor.”The 24-year-old student and charity campaigner was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a quickly developing disease most common in people over 65, in December.

She was working in Thailand and initially believed she had pulled a muscle in her back after noticing she was getting out of breath on short runs.

Not knowing that something was seriously wrong, she flew out to Thailand during her university Christmas break, to help assist an Oxford professor with research about conditions for domestic migrant workers.

While she was there the back pain switched to the other side, which is when she started to get worried and had a blood test which revealed the leukaemia.After a month as an inpatient undergoing chemotherapy at University College Hospital, London, Miss Casalotti is now resting at home as she awaits details of her next round of treatment.

Her family launched the appeal after discovering there is a lack of donors for ethnic minorities.

Only 20 per cent of people from black, Asian and ethnic minorities who need a stem cell transplant will find a match.

“This is one of the biggest global campaigns we have ever seen,” a spokesman for the charity said, adding that registers around the world will be seeing a similar spike.

Ann O’Leary, head of register development at Anthony Nolan, described Lara as “a truly inspirational and selfless young woman” adding that “somewhere out there, there’s a potential lifesaver who could give her a lifeline.”

If you are 16-30, you can join the Anthony Nolan register at www.anthonynolan.org

Video!

Great video! Click link below.

 

Bone Marrow

Bone Marrow Donor Needed

Mixed-race heritage complicates stem cell search

 

A 19-year-old woman with cancer is having trouble finding a stem cell donor because of her mixed aboriginal and Irish roots. Rosalie Lirette Gilbert was diagnosed on June 29 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

A search of the blood and bone marrow donor bank in her home province of Quebec found no match for her genetic mix. When her 24-year-old sister  Hélisa found out she wasn’t a match either, she issued a public appeal for aboriginal donors on Facebook.

Donor registrations have increased

There were 1.4 million people “who have an aboriginal identity” in 2011, according to government statistics. Of those, 451,795 identified at Metis, that is, of mixed European and indigenous heritage.

Héma Quebec, the body that banks blood and bone marrow, says that subsequent to the appeal, the number of registrations on the donor list has increased, and that is a good thing.  Hélisa says she is glad her message is having an impact. She hopes it will help find a donor for her sister and for other people of mixed ancestry.

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Multiracial Bone Marrow Donors Needed!

Our Kids Are Becoming More Racially Diverse, But Our Cancer Treatments Aren’t Keeping Up

By Tara Culp-Ressler  

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Our Kids Are Becoming More Racially Diverse, But Our Cancer Treatments Aren’t Keeping Up

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Flier being circulated to help Baylor find a bone marrow donor 

Seven-year-old Baylor Fredrickson loves math, sports, and Greek mythology. His mom says he’s “the sweetest boy you’ll ever meet.” But Baylor is also battling for his life. He has an acute form of leukemia, and he needs a bone marrow transplant to keep the blood cancer at bay.

Unfortunately for Baylor, that’s easier said than done. The second grader is half Japanese and half German, and in order to find a match, he needs a mixed race donor who is also Asian and Caucasian. But racially diverse bone marrow donors are hard to find. Just two percent of the people registered with the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry are multiracial.

Finding a bone marrow match is even more difficult than finding a match for other types of organs. Seventy percent of patients can’t even find a match within their immediate family. That’s because all of the immune system’s cells come from bone marrow. So if a patient receives a transplant that isn’t a good enough genetic match, white blood cells will perceive the patient’s entire body as foreign material that should be attacked and destroyed, resulting in a life-threatening condition called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Matches very rarely occur across different ethnic groups.

Baylor isn’t the first mixed race American to struggle to find a blood marrow donor. Every year, over 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with potentially fatal blood diseases like leukemia. But as the country’s population becomes increasingly diverse — between 2000 and 2010, the number of Americans who consider themselves to be multiracial grew faster than those who identify as belonging to a single race — many of those patients are faced with few options.

Now, advocacy groups like Mixed Marrow and Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M) are dedicated to reaching out to more racially diverse Americans to encourage them to donate. A3M conducts over 500 annual donor recruitment drives in the African American, Chinese, Japanese, Hispanic, Korean, Filipino, South Asian, and Vietnamese communities.

This isn’t the only example of racial disparities within the medical field. Clinical trials are overwhelmingly white, which prevents researchers from developing effective health treatments for diverse patients. For example, Asian patients suffering from lung cancer are more likely to possess a certain genetic mutation that affects the way they respond to traditional chemotherapy, so they need other options. Nonetheless, research into the diseases that disproportionately affect non-white people remain underfunded.

Baylor’s family is doing everything they can to spread the word. They set up a Facebook page, and they’re holding donor registration drives in their California area this week. Baylor’s dad, Rob Fredrickson, told a local ABC affiliate that the seven-year-old understands it could be difficult to find a match. “He’s spoken to us about the possibility that he may pass away. He’s well aware of his own situation,” Fredrickson said.

Source: Think Progress

Multiracial Teen Needs Bone Marrow Donor

 

Match for Malena: Children’s Medical Center Patient Hopes to Find Bone Marrow Donor

Family of Dallas teen Malena Brown urges volunteers to join national donor registry

  

DALLAS — Malena Brown is hoping for a match on Valentine’s Day this year, but not the kind you would normally expect a pretty, vivacious, 15-year-old girl to wish for. Malena is a patient at Children’s Medical Center Dallas and the match she and her family are searching for is an unrelated volunteer “angel donor” whose bone marrow stem cells offer the only hope of a cure for her chronic myeloid leukemia.

Children’s Medical Center is helping the Brown family issue a call for donors through its annual ‘Be The Match’ donor registry drive, on Friday, Feb. 14, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Volunteers 18 to 44 can stop by Children’s main hospital location at 2350 Stemmons Freeway in Dallas or Children’s Medical Center at Legacy, 7601 Preston Road in Plano. Free parking is available in front of both locations. A simple cheek swab for tissue typing is all that’s required. Anyone who wishes to join the registry also can order a kit online to be sent by mail.

Volunteer donors who sign up for the national Be The Match Registry are the only hope for patients like Malena who do not have a compatible donor in their own families and must rely on the registry to find an unrelated person who is a genetic match. According to the Be The Match Registry, some 70 percent of all patients who need a stem cell transplant must look outside their families for a donor.

Finding a match for Malena is especially challenging because her biracial heritage makes it statistically more difficult to find someone compatible. People of African-American heritage are under-represented in the registry, and people with any combination of mixed-race heritage are greatly needed as potential donors for the simple reason that they are statistically more scarce in the population.

Malena’s father is Gary Brown, Dallas Cowboys running backs coach, and former professional football player whose career included eight seasons with three NFL teams. His heritage is African-American, while Malena’s mom, Kim Brown, is an American of European descent.

The Browns represent the changing face of families in America today. The most recent U.S. census data shows multiracial families are on the rise, with a nearly 50 percent increase in multiracial children since 2000. The multiracial population in America is predominantly young, which means finding potential adult donors for children like Malena is a big challenge.

“The best chance of a match for Malena is someone who shares her ancestry, and the more people who join the registry, the greater the odds of finding someone,” said Dr. Andrew Y. Koh, director of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant program at Children’s, assistant professor of pediatrics and microbiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

A simple cheek swab is all that’s required for tissue typing. Those who sign up online and use the promo code “childrens” will be sent a free kit in the mail. For those registering either in person or online, the normal $100 sign-up fee is waived as Children’s provides a donation to Be The Match to cover the costs. For more information about online registration, visit www.childrens.com/bethematch.

Watch Malena’s video here.

BIG Trouble with Donor Drives

The blood banks and bone marrow donor programs are now completely TERRITORIAL. You never know where a match will come from geographically, yet they “brand” themselves in an area and they won’t promote saving the life of a multiracial person. Everything seems so insignificant in comparison. Shame on them.

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