Stem cells, donated by Yerevan physician, set to lead to ABMDR’s 31st transplant
LOS ANGELES—On April 10, stem cells donated by Dr. Georgi Iloyan, of Yerevan, were dispatched to Iran, to be used for a life-saving transplant. The person for whom the stem cells were donated is a young patient in Tehran who suffers from leukemia. The patient’s only hope for survival is to undergo bone marrow stem cell transplantation. The transplant will be the 31st to be facilitated by the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
Dr. Georgi Iloyan, the donor of the stem cells, is an acclaimed pulmonary surgeon and director of the Tashir Medical Center, in Yerevan. In 2001, while a student at the Yerevan State Medical University, he registered as a potential bone marrow donor with ABMDR, during a donor recruitment held at the university.
Recently, during a preliminary donor search, Dr. Iloyan was identified as a potential match for the young patient in Iran. When Dr. Iloyan was notified of this development, he at once gave his consent to undergo additional testing for a clean bill of health, and was subsequently identified as a perfect match for the patient. On April 10, stem cells were harvested from Dr. Iloyan at ABMDR’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan. The safe, non-invasive procedure was performed by Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan. Afterwards the donated stem cells were rushed via a special international courier to the Shariati Hospital in Tehran, to be utilized for a potentially life-saving transplant.
Dr. Iloyan does not know the name of the patient in Iran. “I wouldn’t want to know, because it doesn’t matter,” he said. “As a physician, I try to help people on a daily basis. Therefore, I consider donating my own stem cells both a duty and a privilege, and the identity of the patient who will receive the transplant makes absolutely no difference. I’m just deeply gratified for having the chance to help save the life of a cancer patient.”
Following the stem cell harvesting procedure, Dr. Sevak Avagyan, the Executive Director of ABMDR, said, “This is what our work comes down to: giving the hope of survival to a patient struck by a life-threatening blood-related illness. And the more potential donors we have in our worldwide registry, the better our chances are for saving the lives of Armenians and non-Armenians alike. All of us at ABMDR are crossing our fingers and looking forward to the patient’s full recovery. I’d like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Georgi Iloyan, for so enthusiastically donating his stem cells. He is a true inspiration!”
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 29,000 donors in 29 countries across four continents, identified 4,341 patients, and facilitated 30 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.