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
Myla is back at school! ❤️ 🙌 👏 .
Join us in congratulating young Myla who just two years ago was battling aplastic anemia and searching for a matching bone marrow donor. Since then Myla received her transplant and is on the road to a healthy recovery. We're excited to share that she is now back at school and back into ballet. .
#DKMS #aplasticanemia #deletebloodcancer #fightcancer #survivor #cancersurvivor #ballet #loveballet #dogood
Our awesome initiators are hard at work swabbing potential lifesavers for patients in need. 

#LYMCrew #DKMS #LoveYourMelon #GetSwabbed #leaders #youngprofessional #uReact #LYM  #rutgerslym #lymlife
On #WorldKindnessDay we remember Aisha. The love and light that she put into the world remind us that anyone could step up and be a lifesaving donor. Read more about her documentary #TheSkyIsPink by visiting the link in our bio.
These students are the rockstars leading the fight against blood cancer. Did you #GetSwabbed this month?

#LYMCrew #DKMS #LoveYourMelon #GetSwabbed #leaders #youngprofessional #uReact #LYM
HAPPY #marathonmonday to the amazing #teamdkms runners who completed the  #tcsnycmarathon yesterday! Thirteen runners raised more than $41,000 to support our mission to find matching bone marrow donors for every patient who needs one. 🏅👏💪❤️
Ten years of friendship. Countless miles between them. An impact so great can only be measured by the bond that they’ve formed as charity racers. Meet @cullman, @melindamarble, @bkell918, and @wheretonextmarci. .
We’re proud to call this Fab Four #teamdkms runners and honored that they will take on 26.2 to support our mission to save lives of people with blood cancers and disorders. ❤️
They are equipped and ready to lead the fight 🥊 💪  against blood cancer. Check out these amazing students who are working tirelessly to add more potential #bonemarrowdonors to the national registry. 
Here comes the...bone marrow donor! 👰 Sarah just knew that the best wedding gift of all would be meeting the patient whose life was saved because of her donation. The @nytimes shared their story. 🔗 in bio. .
#DKMS #deletebloodcancer #bonemarrowdonor #patientdonormoment #Weddingday #wedding #Love #bonemarrowtransplant #bonemarrow #lovestory