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Tzu Chi Hospital Provides Bone Marrow for Russian Patient

The Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, provided bone marrow to treat a patient in Russia on 1 Mar. The chance of a match between a Chinese and a Russian is a million to one, said the deputy director of the hospital's Stem Cells Centre.


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Dr. Golovacheva receives the bag of peripheral stem cells from Dr Lin Jun-long (left), the CEO of Tzu Chi Medical Mission. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Hospital)

The bag of peripheral blood stem cells was presented to Russian doctor Alla Golovacheva, who made a 10-hour trip from Western Russia to Hualien to collect it.

"We were referred to Tzu Chi by a bone marrow registry in Germany," said the doctor. Dr Golovacheva said the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) in different ethnic groups differs variedly and that most of their marrow donors in Russia are from Europe and the Americas. HLA are proteins found in most cells in the body.

Finding a match between donor and recipient is a complex and time-consuming process. Dr. Yang Guo-liang, deputy director of Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center, said that the matching process focuses on comparing the ten locus of A, B, C, DRB1, DQB1 in HLA between the patient and donor.

"Usually, if 8 out of 10 loci match, the transplant can be performed. In this case, we found a 10-10 match, which is a chance of over one in a million. Because this is a case involving two races, it makes it even harder to find such match. This is really karmic affinity. We hope the stem cells will help the patient recover," said Dr Yang.

It was the first time Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center has donated bone marrow to Russia since its establishment in 1993.

So far, Tzu Chi has provided a total of 2417 patients from 28 countries with bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells. As of March 1 this year, the centre has had 338,922 registered donors, including 9209 from the United States. A total of 24,871 patients had requested a match with the centre so far.

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Dr. Golovacheva carefully checking the information with the staff of Tzu Chi Stem Cells Centre. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Stem Cells Centre)


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