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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 9, 2005

Project Marrow To Hold Marrow Marathon On UI Campus

Project Marrow will sponsor a marrow donor drive from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10 in the Lucas/Dodge and Miller Rooms in the Iowa Memorial Union. The public is invited to participate.

Six years ago, University of Iowa students affected by diseases involving stem cell transplants formed a new student organization called Project Marrow to educate the UI community about the Iowa Marrow Donor Program and the National Marrow Donor Program registries. Project Marrow gives community members the opportunity to save lives by registering their tissue type with the program.

The students of Project Marrow encourage people to join the registry, conduct publicity efforts, staff registration drives and serve as fundraisers. Since the founding of Project Marrow in 1999, 1,388 volunteers have joined the registry; seven of these volunteers have been matched to unrelated patients in need and have donated their stem cells, and many others have been called for additional testing. Project Marrow is affiliated with the Iowa Marrow Donor Program at UI Hospital and Clinics. 

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program seeks committed volunteers, ages 18 to 60 and in general good health. When joining the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, a person's tissue type becomes registered as part of the Iowa and National Marrow Donor Programs' registries. Once registered, a volunteer may be called upon to donate marrow or blood stem cells to a person needing a transplant to fight a life-threatening disease. Registration is easy, requiring completion of a simple consent form and a small blood sample. 

Each year, more than 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with diseases treatable by a stem cell transplant. Of the patients needing to receive healthy stem cells from someone else, only 30 percent have a suitable family match, leaving the additional 70 percent to rely on unrelated donors. 

The Iowa Marrow Donor Program was created in 1981 and became affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program in 1991. On average, 25 to 30 donors are called to donate each year from the Iowa Marrow Donor Program's registry of more than 22,000 persons, and many more are called for further testing. Approximately 2,000 people join the Iowa and national registries each year through the Iowa Marrow Donor Program. 

For more information about the donor drive or to receive application forms, call the Iowa Marrow Donor Program toll free at 800-944-8220 or locally at 319-356-3337. For more information regarding Project Marrow or the donor drive, please contact Tabitha Silverthorn, vice president, at 319-338-7618 or by e-mail at tabitha-silverthorn@uiowa.edu. For more information regarding the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, please contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at debra-hoyle@uiowa.edu. Information about the program can be found online at www.iowamarrow.org.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.