From Cheek Swab to Lifesaver List. How it Works. What it Means.

What happens when you send your swabs back to DKMS?

• Our lab analyzes your tissue type: Your cheek cells are tested for HLA tissue markers.

• HLA = Human Leukocyte Antigens, or characteristics of human white blood cells. These protein ‘markers’ are found on most cells in your body.

• There is a great diversity of HLA and the cheek swab is currently tested for up to 12 characteristics.

• Your immune system uses HLA markers to determine which cells belong in your body and which do not.

• The best transplant outcomes occur when the patient’ s and donor’s HLA closely match.

• Once HLA markers are identified, your tissue type is entered anonymously into the US national bone marrow donor registry – “the lifesaver list” -- and assigned a donor number. The database is linked to global registries, searchable for any patient around the world.

What it means to be on the registry:

• Once you're on the registry, you are on standby to save a life. That's awesome! Be ready to donate, and willing to donate to any patient in need.

Will you become a match for a patient?

You could be called as a potential match within weeks of registering. Or, perhaps it will take years. There is a chance that you may never be called, but if you do get called, there is a good chance you are the ONLY one who can save that patient’s life.

On average, less than 1% of people on the registry will actually donate to a patient.

More about HLA

• You inherit half of your HLA markers from your mother and half from your father. This means you and your sibling have a 25% chance of having exactly the same HLA characteristics.

• This also means that most patients – about 7 out of 10 -- are unable to have a donation from a sibling, and an unrelated donor is required. This donor should ideally be a perfect HLA match.

• The more people who register, the better the chances for patients who are waiting for their lifesaving match.

This is why YOUR registration matters so much!


Other Ways to Help

There are many ways to support our fight against blood cancer.

100% of every gift you make helps us recruit more potential lifesavers.

We need more lifesavers. Host a drive to help us register more potential bone marrow donors.

Learn more about blood cancers and how you can make a lifesaving difference.

Katharina Harf, Co-Founder of Delete Blood Cancer
We Can Delete Blood Cancer
We're sending a different type of ❤️ to Landrie. She received a #bonemarrowtransplant today to rid her body of aplastic anemia. 
#DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #ValentinesDay #fightcancer
Today we celebrate donors like Matene who give blood cancer patients a second chance. Because of her, Marcus is alive today. 
#WorldCancerDay #DKMS #Deletebloodcancer #DKMSUS #Leukemiasurvivor #cancersurvivor
Bennett is home! Last year we featured Bennett, an eight year old boy diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In December, he found a matching donor and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Over the weekend, Bennett celebrated his 100 day post transplant, an important milestone in his recovery 🎉 🎈. #DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #TeamBennett #fightbloodcancer #savelives #Hope #DoGood
After years of searching for a #bonemarrowdonor, Damary found his lifesaving match!  Join us in wishing him well as he prepares for the next step of his treatment.  Please leave your wishes in the comments below. 
#DKMS #deletebloodcancer #Leukemia #fightcancer
We had an EPIC time swabbing the folks over at @hendersonengineers. Special thanks to #TeamHenderson for joining our mission to save lives 🙌 . 
#DKMS #Deletebloodcancer #Stemcelldonor #Swabselfie #GetSwabbed
What a year ☺️ ! Without your help, this wouldn't be possible. We're committed to helping our patients find their lifesaving match. When you make a gift, we can create more cancer survivors. Donate now using the link in our bio.

#DKMS #Deletebloodcancer #Fightcancer #bonemarrowdonor #bonemarrowdonors #dogood
As the season is upon us, we send each and everyone one of you our best wishes for the holidays. Seasons Greetings from all of us at DKMS!
We're rooting for nine-year-old Camryn. She's a young girl from Texas who is battling aplastic anemia. Could you be her lifesaving #bonemarrowdonor? 
#DKMS #Deletebloodcancer #fightbloodcancer #Dogood #bonemarrowtransplant