The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry on November 3 and 4 participated in a leading international medical and scientific conference, the European Federation of Immunogenetics’ Region 8 Balkan EPT Meeting.
Representing Armenia and ABMDR at the annual conference, which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, were Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of ABMDR; and Dr. Sevak Avagyan, executive director of the organization.
As a featured speaker at the conference, Dr. Jordan made an in-depth presentation on the most recent achievements of ABMDR.
These include the pan-Armenian organization’s HLA-typing and many kinds of molecular-based testing at its lab in Yerevan; its stem cell-harvesting work, which facilitates life-saving transplantations for Armenian and non-Armenian patients alike — not just in Armenia, but throughout the world; its growing network of support groups in 44 countries on four continents; and its ongoing recruitment efforts for the goal of maintaining a robust registry of potential bone marrow stem cell donors.
Dr. Jordan’s presentation was titled “The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: a catalyst for life-saving transplantation in Armenia and beyond.”
“To date, we have facilitated 40 bone marrow transplants, and hope to facilitate our 41st very soon,” Dr. Jordan said. “ABMDR is a volunteer-run organization, and one that promotes a culture of grassroots volunteerism, particularly among the youth.”
Dr. Jordan is an official inspector with the European Federation of Immunogenetics, in charge of assessing the work of labs in various countries for EFI accreditation. ABMDR’s own HLA Typing Laboratory, in Yerevan, is the only one of its kind in the Caucasus, and the only EFI-accredited facility in the entire region.
During her presentation, Dr. Jordan also touched on the Artsakh war and the humanitarian catastrophe that has followed. “Among the more than 100,000 Artsakh citizens forcibly displaced from their homeland were 3,000 ABMDR stem cell donors,” Dr. Jordan said. “Today, these selfless individuals, each of whom can potentially save someone’s life, are desperately trying to rebuild their lives after becoming refugees.”
Dr. Jordan went on to express her condolences to colleagues in Israel and Palestine who have suffered great losses as a result of the current conflict, and conveyed ABMDR’s solidarity with all victims of the war.
Dr. Jordan, who also chaired one of the EFI conference’s scientific sessions, afterwards said, “It is profoundly gratifying to represent Armenia at such a prestigious event. And my colleague Dr. Avakian and I were absolutely thrilled to have many conference participants not only congratulate us on ABMDR’s accomplishments, but also seek our advice on best practices for their registries. It was all truly humbling.”
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 33,500 donors in 44 countries across four continents, identified over 9,000 patients, and facilitated 40 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit the website.