Marrow Donors Rare For Mixed-Race Patients
(AP) If Nick Glasgow were white, he would have a nearly 90 percent chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor who could cure his leukemia.
But because the 28-year-old bodybuilder is one-quarter Japanese, his doctor warned him the outlook was grim. Glasgow's background would make it almost impossible to find a match, which usually comes from a patient's own ethnic group.
The doctor "didn't say it was slim-to-none. He didn't say it would be hard. He said 'zero chance,"' Glasgow's mother, Carole Wiegand, recalled with tears in her eyes. "When Nick heard that, it sent him plummeting."
At a time when the number of multiracial Americans is rising, only a tiny fraction of donors on the national bone-marrow registry are of mixed race. The National Marrow Donor Program is trying to change that by seeking more diverse donors for patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.
"The truth is, when people of different backgrounds marry and produce offspring, it creates more types that are harder to match," said Michelle Setterholm, the program's director of scientific services. "The probability just gets lower when you have people of mixed ancestral DNA..."
Continued at: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/05/27/health/main5044251.shtml