What is blood cancer?
Every 35 seconds, someone somewhere in the world is diagnosed with blood cancer. But what is blood cancer exactly?
What can we do against blood cancer?
For many blood cancer patients, a blood stem cell donation from a suitable donor is their only chance of survival. The blood stem cells are removed from the donor and implanted in the recipient – in a stem cell transplantation. The new, healthy blood stem cells help the recipient’s bone marrow to regenerate and produce healthy blood cells again. But for this to work, the donor and recipient must have exactly the same HLA markers. You could be the perfect match for a patient somewhere in the world – and help them sometime soon!
Genetic twins? What are they?
Basically, every one of us probably has a genetic twin somewhere. They won’t necessarily look or behave like you, but their HLA markers or ‘tissue markers’ will be virtually identical to yours. Hence the term ‘genetic twin’. These marker make up just a tiny fraction of the complete human DNA.
Only one in three patients find a suitable blood stem cell donor within their own families. The rest need a genetic twin outside their family – like little Mathilda, who needed Charly’s help because nobody in her family was a match.