Luton spearheads drive for stem cell donors

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Luton Swab Week runs from January 23

Help save a life as a push for stem cell donors takes place in Luton

Luton Swab Week on January 23-27 will be a UK first for stem cell donor recruitment.

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A spokesman for Luton Council said: “Anyone can get blood cancer, but not everyone has the same chance of survival. Patients who need a stem cell transplant to save their life are more likely to find their best match from a donor of the same ethnicity.

“But 70% of all registered donors are white, even though 88% of the world’s population isn’t. So non-white patients are at a major disadvantage, which we simply cannot accept.

“Right now, less than 700 Luton residents from minority ethnic backgrounds are registered as stem cell donors. That’s why we’re holding Luton Swab Week from 23-27 January 2023, offering those aged 16-30 attending Luton Sixth Form College and the University of Bedfordshire the chance to become a potential lifesaver and join the stem cell register. Research has shown that younger donors increases patients’ chances of surviving.”

During Luton Swab Week students will be asked to complete an online form on their mobile, answering basic questions including their age, height and contact details and then they will swab both their cheeks. Their results will be stored on a secure database only accessed for the purpose of finding potential lifesaving matches.

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If you’re not a student and are aged 16-30 years, you can still become a life saver. Just visit, where you can order a postal swab kit.

Cllr Khtija Malik, Luton Council Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Public Health, said: “We are committed to tackling health inequalities to improve outcomes for our residents. This stem cell recruitment drive is a great way to raise awareness of the need for more donors from diverse groups and help reduce the number of patients from diverse communities waiting for donation matches.”

Luton Swab Week is being held in partnership with Luton Sixth Form College, the University of Bedfordshire, Anthony Nolan, the National BAME Transplant Alliance, Luton Council, Luton Rising, Cricket East, Wicketz, Streets and Macmillan Cancer Support.