Matched Donor’s Stem Cells Harvested in Yerevan for Her Brother in Australia

Karine Tshgnavoryan was identified as a matched stem cell donor for a patient in Australia, her own brother.
Karine Tshgnavoryan was identified as a matched stem cell donor for a patient in Australia, her own brother.

Karine Tshgnavoryan was identified as a matched stem cell donor for a patient in Australia, her own brother.

LOS ANGELES — Karine Tshgnavoryan would have never known that only she could have helped save the life of her brother in Australia, if a month ago the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry had not started to look for a stem cell donor match in Armenia.

“In this case, since the patient in Australia is of Armenian descent, the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry at once contacted us, requesting that we try to find a local donor match,” says Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan, the medical director of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

As soon as Dr. Nazaretyan and his staff identified a matched donor in Armenia, namely Karine Tshgnavoryan, they notified their colleagues in Australia and went on to collect stem cells from her. The non-invasive, painless harvesting procedure, which takes only four hours, was performed at the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan, on February 9, 2016. Since the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry is a member of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, the process of shipping the harvested stem cells to Australia was implemented immediately.

Karine Tshgnavoryan during the painless, non-invasive stem cell harvesting procedure.

Karine Tshgnavoryan during the painless, non-invasive stem cell harvesting procedure.

“Our registry is linked with 67 national registries across the globe, which means that once a matched donor is identified, the process of shipping out the harvested stem cells for the patient suffering from a life-threatening blood-related illness is performed with absolutely no delay,” says Dr. Sevak Avagyan, the executive director of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. “To date, matched donors in our registry have saved the lives of 25 patients worldwide, including non-Armenians. Karine Tshgnavoryan is our latest matched donor. Days like this make our work all the more worthwhile!”

About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide survive life-threatening blood-related illnesses by recruiting and matching donors to those requiring bone marrow stem cell transplants. To date, the registry has recruited over 28,000 donors in 28 countries across four continents, identified over 3,500 patients, and facilitated 25 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.

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