July 18, 2019

Be The Match: Diversity in bone marrow transplant donors could save more lives

By Karl Oestreich

Action News Jax

Andrew Garcia is earning his associate degree and has big dreams. “I plan to become a physical therapist’s assistant,“ he said Wednesday. he 22-year-old’s plan was put on hold last year, when he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome. It causes bone marrow failure. Garcia explained, “I’m getting started on my life and now it feels like my life is ending.” According to Dr. James Foran with Mayo Clinic, a bone marrow transplant is the only cure. He said, “The problem is, if there are mismatches from the donor to the recipient, then you can get rejection.”

Reach: ActionNewsJax is WAWS-TV/30, a Fox affiliate, and WTEV-TV/47 is a CBS affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida.

Related coverage:
Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville leukemia survivor advocates for ethnic diversity in bone marrow registry

Context: Close to 5,000 people in the U.S. undergo a bone marrow transplant annually. Also known as a stem cell transplant, this procedure replaces damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy cells.

The process involves wiping out the body's bone marrow and immune system with chemotherapy and sometimes radiation. Then healthy donor cells are infused intravenously into the bloodstream so new cells can grow. You can read more about bone marrow transplants on Mayo Clinic News Network.

Contact: Natalie Halpern

Tags: ActionNewsJax, Andrew Garcia, bone marrow transplant, Dr. James Foran, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Uncategorized

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