There are 325 million Arabs in 22 Middle Eastern countries and other lands, but the first and so far only registry for potential unrelated Arab donors of bone marrow or stem cells – which have the ability to cure certain cancers and other serious disorders – is at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
In 1987, Prof. Chaim Brautbar established Israel’s first general unrelated bone marrow donor registry at Hadassah; upon his retirement, he was succeeded by Dr. Shoshanna Israel. Today, the general registry has over 80,000 people listed. Two years ago, he set up the Arab registry with veteran immunologist Dr. Amal Bishara. Since then, data from over 9,000 Israeli Arabs (initially obtained only from peripheral blood and more recently also from buccal cells taken from the inside of the cheek) have been stored in its computers and fed into the international database in Leiden, Holland so that compatible Arab HLAs for would-be recipients can be more easily found. Yet many more samples are needed to find potential donors for those who are ill.
Today, there is an option for Arabs in other countries – even those officially at war with Israel – to find a compatible Israeli donor and come to Hadassah for a transplant, or send the bone marrow or stem cells abroad to the transplant center.
(h/t Jawa Report)