City's unrelated stem cell donations reach 600

Writer: Zhang Yu  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-04-04

A 28-year-od man has become Shenzhen’s 600th and the country’s 14,956th person to donate hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to an unrelated recipient. The peripheral blood stem cell collection took place at the Second People’s Hospital of Shenzhen yesterday.

The recipient, who suffers from severe aplastic anemia, is from Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to a thank-you letter written by the recipient to the donor, who was identified only by his surname Guo.

Guo has his hematopoietic stem cells collected at the Second People’s Hospital of Shenzhen yesterday. Courtesy of SZ Blood Center

The idea of saving someone else’s life if there is an opportunity grew in Guo’s mind when his father was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016. He became a member of the China Marrow Donor Program (CMDP) during a blood donation at the Nanshan blood station in 2021.

However, he didn’t expect the opportunity came so fast. Guo, who knew that a blood disease could be a serious blow to a family, said he was as surprised as winning a lottery when he heard that a match had been found.

“I’m glad that I can give hope to a patient for a new life and bring joy to a family,” Guo said.

In his letter to the recipient, Guo hoped that the recipient can bravely start a new chapter in life. “Each of us still has a lot of time, and there are more wonderful things waiting for us in this world,” it read.

According to Shenzhen Blood Center, some 60,000 local residents have signed up to join the CMDP to become HSC donors. The city has the most people who have donated HSCs in the country.

It took nearly 10 years for Shenzhen to reach the milestone of 100 HSC donations from unrelated donors, with 5.5 years between the 101st and 200th donations, three years between the 201st and 300th, 1.5 years between the 301st and 400th, a year between the 401st and 500th, and 11 months between the 501st and 600th.

On Nov. 20, 2018, Liu Zhao-long from Shenzhen donated HSCs to a French person, becoming the first volunteer in Guangdong Province to donate HSCs to a French recipient.

Last year, Shenzhen became China’s first city to register 100 HSC donations in just 10 months.

Donated HSCs can be used in the treatment of leukemia, some malignant solid tumors, aplastic anemia, severe immune-deficiency illnesses, acute radiation syndrome and thalassaemia.

Citizens aged between 18 and 45, and in good health, can volunteer to donate HSCs in Shenzhen.