The National Marrow Donation Program (NMDP), which maintains the “Be The Match” registry to help provide individuals who would benefit from bone marrow donation with potential donors, is currently at odds with a ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court in California. The court ruled that, while it’s not legal to compensate organ donors in the United States for their donation, one of the bone marrow-donating procedures isn’t “technically” organ donation — it’s blood donation — and donors can therefore be compensated.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded scientists have corrected sickle cell disease in adult laboratory mice by activating production of a special blood component normally produced before, but not after, birth.
Sickle cell disease is a recessive genetic disorder caused by a single base mutation in the gene for hemoglobin, beta locus (HBB). Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. People living with sickle cell disease have two copies of an altered gene that produces sickle hemoglobin instead of normal adult hemoglobin. Sickle hemoglobin changes shape after releasing its oxygen, causing the red blood cell to become stiff, misshapen and sticky, and slowing blood flow to tissues. This process damages organs and causes pain.