Amir Ali Hamidiyeh, the co-founder of the country’s first blood donor stem cell bank, says that expanding enrollment centres is one of the steps that can help.
Over the past two years, a lot has been done by the Health Ministry to promote the culture of donating hematopoietic stem cells.
1.3 million people around the world have undergone the surgery, of which 11,000 were Iranian. Currently, thousands of patients around the world are waiting for compatible stem cells donors. 40,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia each year, and one patient is diagnosed with leukemia every five minutes.
Once, leukemia was lethal, but nowadays it is treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
“Until 2009, there were no stem cell donor banks in the eastern Mediterranean region and North Africa, but in the same year Iran was listed as the 26th country to do hematopoietic stem cell exchanges.
Currently, more than 50 percent of all US, European and Japanese transplants are carried out with non-relative donors, but in our region, this number is below 1 percent,” said Hamidiyeh.
The cost of transplanting hematopoietic stem cells in Europe and the United States is $500,000 to $1 million, and the cost of transferring hematopoietic stem cells to other countries is 20,000 Euros. Thus, the outflow of capital can be prevented by increasing the number of donors and donor enrollment centres of hematopoietic stem cells.
At the same time, it should be noted that the patient does not require any medication six months after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.