Thank you for contacting me about stem cell donation.
With over 2,000 people a year across the UK requiring a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, it is vital that more people are encouraged to register as potential stem cell donors. As such, I welcome the joint action of Anthony Nolan and our NHS to increase the number of registered donors.
The Government provides financial support for both Anthony Nolan and NHS Blood and Transplant, to enable improved provision of stem cells for patients requiring a transplant, with more than £20 million provided since 2015. I am glad that this continued public funding has enabled the establishment of a unified stem cell registry for the UK – the Anthony Nolan and NHS Stem Cell Registry – streamlining the provision of stem cells for transplant.
As of 2017, the number of people registered as a potential donor across the UK stood at more than 1.4 million, almost double the 770,000 registered in 2010. While I welcome this significant progress, I also recognise the importance of registering more donors from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, in order to improve equity of access to the provision of stem cells for patients from BAME backgrounds. That is why I am encouraged that, since the Registry’s creation in 2013, the number of BAME registered donors has more than doubled from 67,800 to 137,100. This increase includes 23,500 more Black donors and 32,500 more Asian donors.
In 2016, NHS Blood and Transplant began a partnership with Team Margot and launched a Golden Ticket campaign. This project involved the circulation of 35,000 Golden Tickets to existing BAME and mixed-race donors to encourage them to sign on to the stem cell donor register. I am confident that awareness campaigns such as this will continue to increase the number of registered stem cell donors from BAME backgrounds going forwards.