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 ❤️ Brittany. .
Eight years ago she signed up as a #bonemarrowdonor at @stscholastica with the hopes of giving someone a second chance at life. Last summer she answered the call 📞 and donated to a patient in need. .
She stepped up, now it's your turn to be a hero. 🔗
in our bio.
#DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #Bonemarrowdonor #bonemarrowtransplant #DoGood #Donor #FeelGoodDoGood #GiveBack #bonemarrow
Rachel is a superstar ⭐ volunteer!  During her time at @utaustintx, she organized bone marrow registration drives and educated students on what it means to become a potential #bonemarrowdonor. 
A big THANK YOU to Rachel and all our volunteers for working so hard and for being a major part of how we #DeleteBloodCancer 🙌 . 
#NationalVolunteerWeek #NationalVolunteerMonth #DKMS #FightCancer #Students #Volunteer #Volunteering #HookEm #Longhorns #UTAustin #UTTower #WhatStartsHere
Darian and his parents appeared with @sybilzpix on the @flyjocktomjoyner show for #GetWellWednesday, kicking off a busy day of raising awareness and registering potential #bonemarrowdonors in the Dallas area. Thank you to everyone who helped #DoItForDarian and to @utarlington for hosting a drive in Darian’s name.
#TJMS #sicklecell #sicklecellawareness #dallas #DKMS
The students at @utknoxville are rockstar volunteers.  Last week, they added 400 potential #bonemarrowdonors to the national donor pool. Did you #GetSwabbed? 
#DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #BigOrange #UTKnoxville  #BoneMarrowDonor #NVW2018
When #DKMS staff join the registry, we make sure it’s with personality. Check out our senior marketing manager Michelle Fico swabbing in style 😎😉. #SwabSelfie #GetSwabbed
DKMS is officially launched in Chile! 🎉
The highlight of the launch event in Santiago last week was when 5 year-old-Juan met his donor, Tatjana, from Germany for the first time. Welcome @DKMS_cl to the DKMS group and the fight against blood cancer!
#fightcancer#DeleteBloodCancer #DKMS #bloodcancer#nevergiveup #CancerdeSangre #BloodCancer #Leukemia #Chile #Santiago #dkms #cancersucks #PatientDonorMeeting
Brendan (@bmurray35) joined the national bone marrow donor pool with his friends at @lollapalooza a few years ago.
We had a blast swabbing these awesome #heroes and #villains at the @heroesfanfest. Special thanks to our amazing volunteers and to @entertain_Jolt for the great shots. .
#DKMS #DeleteBloodCancer #HVFF #GetSwabbed #BoneMarrowDonor