Young people play a pivotal role in the stem cell landscape. Research has identified that younger donors offer the potential for better patient outcomes and a greater chance of survival. In 2017, 82% of people who donated their stem cells were male, and 58% were men aged 30 and under. In acknowledgement of this fact, the Department provides funding to Anthony Nolan and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to support recruitment of young male donors.
In 2017 69% of new potential donors recruited to the United Kingdom registry were under the age of 30, and 40% of new potential donors were male.
The Department also funds Anthony Nolan and NHSBT to improve equity of access to unrelated donor stem cell transplantation for Black, Asian, Minority and Ethnic (BAME) patients through targeted recruitment to the Anthony Nolan and the NHS Stem Cell Registry.
The Department has provided more than £26 million to NHSBT and Anthony Nolan for stem cell donation since 2011 and have set very specific targets about the proportion of donors that must be from BAME backgrounds; for example, in this financial year, Anthony Nolan will continue to target more than 35% of the umbilical cords stored in the UK Cord Blood Bank to be donated by mothers from BAME backgrounds.