Could you save a life by becoming a bone marrow donor?

College student Amit Gupta has just under 28 days left to find a suitable bone marrow donor to combat the Leukemia threatening his life by getting people to get a cheek swab to test for compatibility at


Because South Asians (Indians Pakistanis, Nepali etc.) are so sparsely represented in the donor pool a unique all-out drive has begun to beat the clock and the disease.

“Leukemia is a word no one wants to hear. It is a type of cancer that starts inside your bone marrow. Amit Gupta has it, and his survival is 30% to 35%. A bone marrow match would double his survival. people are severely under reported in the donor pool including other minorities. finding a perfect match are about one in 20,000. Amit has been using social media to get the word out and  reach potential donors. ” Dr.  Sanjay Gupta from CNN, USA.

The nature of Acute Leukemia is it’s swift and often unheralded, undiagnosed onset. Amit had been feeling worn out and was losing weight, and wasn’t sure why. After an exam and some lab work his doctor called and was brief, “Amit, you’ve got Acute Leukemia. You need to enter treatment right away.” Within hours he was hospitalized and the race had begun.

“I have a couple more months of chemo to go, then the next step is a bone marrow transplant. South Asians are severely under-represented in the bone marrow pool, and I need help,” Amit said.

Unlike blood transfusions, finding a genetic match for bone marrow that his body will accept is no easy task. The national bone marrow registry has 9.5 million records on file, yet the chances of someone from South Asian descent of finding a match are only 1 in 20,000.

Amit started the photo websites Photojojo and Jelly. Both sites have galvanized into action with “Swab for Amit” gatherings, making calls to South Asian clubs and putting out the word all over the Internet.

A few ways to help:

  1. If you’re South Asianget a free test by mail. You rub your cheeks with a cotton swab and mail it back. It’s easy.
  2. Anyone who is South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka), please point them to

Students have organized a donor drive by contacting 100kcheeks@gmail.comThey sent kits, flyers, information and made the whole process easy. From NYC to San Francisco from the UK to India strangers are participating to help find a donor and save Amit’s life and eventually help others.

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US company offers storage of stem cells from menstral blood


US company Cryo-Cell has launched a bank designed for women who want to store their own stem cells, taken from the menstrual blood, as a future health insurance.

Stem cells can be obtained from numerous sources, including the blood, bone marrow and embryos. And a number of private companies, including Richard Branson’s Virgin Health Bank, already offer umbilical cord blood banking for about £1,500.

Cryo-Cell charges a sum of $499 (£238) for processing and a year’s storage of menstrual stem cells.

The woman is sent a collection kit in the post, comprising a cup, collection tubes and a prepaid return shipment to Cryo-Cell.

Menstrual stem cells – which form in the womb lining whichis then shed during a woman’s period – have the advantage of being easily harvested in a painless, non-invasive manner as compared to some other stem cell sources such as bone marrow.

And like other stem cells, early lab work suggests they too have the potential to turn into many other types of cell, including heart, nerve, bone, cartilage and fat, the company claims.

Spokesman for the company, stem cell expert Dr Stephen Noga, director of the Cellular Therapeutics Program, at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, said: “Even one menstrual cycle has the potential to produce millions of stem cells.

“Current research is very preliminary, but given their properties, we believe these menstrual stem cells demonstrate compelling promise to transform regenerative medicine in the coming years.”

Cryo-Cell says on its website that “realistically, it may take several years for these menstrual stem cells to be developed into potential widely-available commercial therapies”.