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Cancer

Can Children Be Bone Marrow Donors

06/23/2008

Question:

Can your children be bone marrow donors?

Answer:

Usually, children are not the best bone marrow donors; the best donor would be an identical twin, which very few of us have. On chromosome 6, there is the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) gene and within that gene are two copies of 3 major proteins (A, B, DR). Everyone gets a set of A, B, and DR from each parent. There is a 25% chance that one of your siblings will be perfectly matched to you and a 0% that your children will be matched perfectly to you as they have a set of the other parents' A, B, DR. The closer the match, the better the outcome for the patient in regards to lifespan, time to recover bone marrow function, and side effects. Talk to your physician about the risk of related, but unmatched donors and non-related, but A, B, DR matched donors.

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Response by:

Joanna M Brell, MD Joanna M Brell, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University