BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The number of stem cell
donors in China has nearly doubled over the past year after a promotion campaign
by the Red Cross Society of China.
"The number of donors registered in the China Bone
Marrow Databank increased from 360,000 in March, 2006 to the present total of
650,000," said Wang Yanjing, an official in charge of stem cell donation with
the Red Cross Society in north China's Hebei province.
"So far, nearly 700 of the volunteers have donated
stem cells for transplant, 300 more than that in March 2006," Wang said.
The Red Cross Society of China created the China Bone
Marrow Databank in 1992. However, in the first ten years of its existence few
Chinese registered as donors for fear that donation would endanger their health.
A lack of investment also impeded the progress of the donation system.
In recent years, the Red Cross Society, with
financial support from national welfare lotteries, has introduced a series of
measures to educate Chinese people in stem cell donation.
Increased media coverage of successful transplants
has also contributed to arousing public attention and dispelling apprehension.
Last month, a leukemia patient from central China's
Hunan province was reported to have successfully received a donation of stem
cells from a citizen from Hualien in Taiwan Province.
China has set up 30 provincial branch marrow banks to
collect a wide range of data from different ethnicities. Experts believe that as
China has 56 ethnic groups and a population of 1.3 billion, the databank is of
great value not only to China, but also to Asia and the world.
It is also helping overseas Chinese. In 2005, the
databank helped two patients in the United States, one in Singapore and one in
Hong Kong find stem cell matches.