The Need for Ethnically Diverse Stem Cell Donors

Warren Fingrut


A majority of patients who are in need of a stem cell transplant cannot find a suitable genetic match in their families, and rely on unrelated donors: individuals who have registered with a stem cell donor database. Many unrelated stem cell donor registries currently direct their donor-recruitment teams to target and recruit ethnically diverse individuals as stem cell donors. However, despite a large body of evidence in the literature highlighting the need for ethnically diverse stem cell donors, no resource exists which explains why building an ethnically diverse stem cell donor-database is important or needed. The purpose of this review article is to summarize evidence highlighting the extent of ethnic and racial disparities both on registries in North America and worldwide. Further, the author explains the multifactorial nature of this disparity, with contributing factors including ethnic differences in representation, genetic diversity, and attrition rates. This review aims to equip donor recruitment staff and volunteers with a resource to inform their recruitment efforts, and support them to target recruitment of ethnically diverse stem cell donors.

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