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Closing the racial gap for life-saving transplants

The already-tricky process of finding a match for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant proves more elusive for people with a diverse heritage. A Washington Post article today puts the numbers in perspective: “When all of humankind’s relevant genes are considered, there are 10 billion possible combinations.”

With a focus on the genetic, cultural and religious issues surrounding transplantation, the piece spotlights two Stanford affiliates who have struggled to find life-saving donors. A match for psychology professor Nalini Ambady, PhD, was recently discovered after a difficult search. Meanwhile, Nina Louie, a former Stanford undergraduate of Chinese and Thai descent, still needs a bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplant to treat her advanced lymphoma.

Read more from the Post about Louie’s friends’ campaign to save her life in the face of 1-in-20,000 odds of success, and how they and organizations such as Be The Match raise awareness about the importance of registering to donate, especially among people of minority-group backgrounds.

Previously: Study highlights social media’s potential as a public-health tool, Stanford faculty and students launch social media campaign to expand bone marrow donor registry and Valuing bone marrow

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