UTM’s Lifeline held the second annual Stem Cell Research Donation event on Tuesday in the Student Centre, CCT, and the Davis Building. The goal of the event was to collect DNA samples from students in order to help find a donor for patients registered with Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch. Few students were aware of the event and only about 50 students donated.
The DNA samples were taken by a swab of saliva by members of UTM’s Lifeline. Students wishing to volunteer their DNA had to undergo a health screening survey about any diseases or past illnesses they had. This year the Lifeline committee targetted Asians, stressing the lack of Asian-matching donors. Stem cells can be recovered from red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. In a transplant, a patient’s diseased bone marrow is replaced with healthy stem cells from a donor. Numerous studies prove that there is significant potential for new medical treatments using stem cells.
We need people,” said Maheshi Wanasundara, an executive of Lifeline. She stated there is a limited awareness of stem cell donation. One student said, ‘They will suck my blood out’!”
The donation itself is a very simple, painless procedure. Donors briefly swab the inside of their mouths to procure a sample.