A NEW campaign is launched today – to get people spitting.
But it’s for a terrific cause, as the Anthony Nolan is setting up simple new saliva tests to get people to join its bone marrow register and save lives.
The UK charity is the first register in the world to use the revolutionary new system, which it hopes will enable it to double the number of lives it saves every day.
Previously, Anthony Nolan asked people to give blood samples to establish their tissue type, which meant visiting a doctor or attending a recruitment event in their area.
The saliva kits can be simply posted out to anyone who wants to join the register, and they just need to complete a medical questionnaire, spit into the tube and send it back.
“No needles, no hassle” was the message from Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan.
“We’re really excited about the switch to saliva testing. Ultimately, this is about saving more lives.
“Anthony Nolan provides two potentially lifesaving transplants every day, but there is an equal number that we can’t currently help.
“We urgently need to increase the number of people on our register, and saliva testing will help us do that much more quickly and effectively.”
The move was also welcomed by Keith Sudbury, father of former Examiner journalist Adrian Sudbury, who lost his fight against leukaemia, but did so much to heighten the awareness of the bone marrow register.
Keith already visits schools asking young people to consider becoming donors and knows the saliva tests will help.
“We have done some trial projects and at one school where I made a presentation and 70 people signed up immediately for the spit test.
“We hope that we can in the near future run clinics at schools across Yorkshire to get more young people on board.
“It is certain to help. It makes it far more simpler for people to undergo a test and once they know that the test, and indeed the procedure for taking bone marrow, are both painless we will hopefully get more potential donors.
“It’s the perfect avenue through to donations.”
The switch to saliva comes as part of several changes to help the charity reach out to younger audiences, especially young men, who are more likely to become donors.
It is also a response to today’s lifestyle where potential donors, due to work or family commitments, may not have the time to travel to a recruitment event, but would still like to join the register.
For the past 35 years, Anthony Nolan has found matches for leukaemia patients who need a lifesaving transplant. For someone with leukaemia, a stem cell transplant can be their only hope of life.
To join the register, donors must be aged between 18 and 40, weigh more than 8 stones (51kg) and be in general good health.
For more information on the donating process, or to apply to join the register, visit www.anthonynolan.org or call 0303 303 0303.
The saliva kits we are using are a system called Oragene ONE, produced by Canadian company DNA Genotek.
A saliva sample of just 0.5ml is needed
There are 1,400 people in the UK in need of a bone marrow transplant.
The saliva kits can be simply posted out to someone who wants to join the register, and they just need to complete a medical questionnaire, spit into the tube and send it back. It’s as simple as that.