News Center

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Be The Match – and save someone’s life threatened by blood cancer

Cancer Center to host event for blood and marrow donor registry

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer and most require a marrow transplant to survive.

That’s why Franciscan St. Francis Cancer Center, in coordination with the Indiana Blood Center and Be The Match® Registry, is holding a drive to enlist potential donors. The event will be Thursday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis in the Terrace Café. It will continue and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Cancer Center lobby.

Both venues are located at the hospital at 8111 S. Emerson Ave on Indianapolis’ south side.

To be considered for the registry, donors must be between the ages of 18 and 44, meet certain health guidelines and committed to donate to any patient in need of a marrow transplant.

Every year, more than 10,000 patients in the United States are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma and their best option for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Because 70 percent of patients do not have a matching donor in their family, they depend on the registry as the source for their treatments.

On average, about 1 in 430 registry members will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood cells to a patient. Because of the vast variation in tissue types, a registry member’s odds cannot be predicted for becoming a donor.

Even though there are more than 3.5 million members in the Be The Match registry, more are desperately needed. Since tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity.

This need is what spawned July being designated as “African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month,” which highlights the critical need for donors to help those affected by sickle cell disease.

The Franciscan Connection to Transplantation
The physicians at Indiana Blood and Marrow Transplantation (IBMT) pioneered the first transplant program for blood cancer in Indiana. This groundbreaking work, including cutting-edge research, is present today at Franciscan St. Francis Health's Cancer Center.

It is one of only two programs in Indiana offering full-service transplant care. The unit specializes in the treatment of patients with leukemia, Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and many other malignancies and blood disorders. 

IBMT is highly regarded nationally and was one of the first five programs in the nation accredited by the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.

State-of-the-art tissue and bone marrow matching is performed at Franciscan St. Francis Health through the HLA and Vascular Biology Lab, which conducts the most advanced testing of donor and recipient bone marrow and blood collections to improve transplant procedures.

To view one patient’s experience (“Charlie’s Story”) for the treatment of leukemia at IBMT, go to

A Final Word on Be The Match Drive
Potential donors attending the July 28 events also will have the opportunity to help patients undergoing bone marrow transplants at Franciscan St. Francis Health. During an ice cream social (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) in the Cancer Center lobby, raffle tickets will be sold for a chance to win gift baskets.

Proceeds from the raffle will be earmarked for the IBMT Patient Assistance Fund.

For more information about the Be The Match Drive, call 317-528-7308 or 317-528-5500.