Why More African Americans Should Donate Bone Marrow

BlackDoctor.org’s “Ask the Expert” series brings the nation’s leading health experts directly to viewers. In this video, Dr. Craig Cole, Hematologist and Assistant Professor at University of Michigan, discusses multiple myeloma. 


So, for the blood cancers, for the Leukemia, Lymphoma, and myeloma, some of those diseases require bone marrow transplantation in order for people to survive the disease. Bone marrow donation or a bone marrow transplant is when people patients receive high doses of chemotherapy to eliminate the disease and they receive a donor bone marrow to help make blood for them after they finished the chemotherapy.

The one specific thing or one very fine point about bone marrow bone marrow transplant is that people of different ethnicities have to get donors from specific ethnicities. People who are Japanese will only match other people from Japan. People from the Middle East will only match people from the Middle East.

And therefore when African-Americans who do get blood cancer, they get leukemia, and lymphoma, and myeloma, when they need a donor for a bone marrow transplant, which is life-saving, they have to get it from somebody of their own ethnicity. So, it’s critical that we have a wide variety a large number of potential donors.