Stem Cell Donation

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Antoinette Sandbach Antoinette Sandbach Conservative, Eddisbury

What steps he is taking to promote stem cell donation.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Since 2011, the Department has provided more than £26 million to NHS Blood and Transplant and to Anthony Nolan, to improve stem cell donation, and is now establishing a unified UK stem cell registry. I would also highlight the inspirational work of Team Margot, who are working to increase the number of people on that stem cell register by enrolling themselves in the transatlantic rowing race. I urge all hon. Members to support that campaign.

Photo of Antoinette Sandbach Antoinette Sandbach Conservative, Eddisbury

I hope the Minister will join me in praising my constituent Peter, who has myeloma and set up the “10,000 donors” register. There are now 22,000 donors registered, but Peter has a rare ethnic mix of English, Irish, Chinese and Portuguese. What more can be done to encourage donors from minority communities?

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have spent a lot of time encouraging donors from minority communities, but the real issue with regard to stem cell donation is that it is about genetic composition. We live in a wonderful society where we all have heritage going back in various, very complex ways, but that makes finding a suitable donor for stem cell donation extremely difficult. It is therefore important that we encourage people to take the test to establish their genetic heritage so that we can have more and more diverse people on the register.