Contact: Mona S.Rowe,(516) 282-2345 or
Diane Greenberg, (516) 282-2347

Mailed 11/29/95


Upton, NY -- The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory is participating in the National Marrow Donor Program, which was set up by Congress in 1986 to register volunteers willing to be blood marrow donors. Each year, some 16,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or other fatal blood diseases, and nearly 70 percent of these patients do not find suitably matched marrow donors within their families.

Said Susan Foster, Brookhaven's Blood Drive Chair, "Brookhaven will sponsor its blood drive on December 7 and 8 this year, and employees can indicate on their pledge cards if they are interested in more information on the National Marrow Registry. Last year, our employees donated almost 1,100 units of blood in two annual blood drives and one emergency drive. With the pledge cards only recently sent out, several people have already expressed an interest in the new marrow donor program."

Thomas Nolan of Sound Beach, a technical specialist in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider Project at Brookhaven, was the first at the Laboratory to sign up as a bone marrow donor. He said, "My brother-in-law suffered from leukemia, and thanks to a bone marrow transplant from a non-family donor he had two years ago, he is alive and well. Helping another person in this way would help me feel really good."

The Laboratory will pick up the expense of the extra blood test required for 20 employees who wish to become bone marrow donors. Due to the shortage of African-American, Asian/Pacific Island, Hispanic and Native American volunteer donors, federal funds cover the tissue-typing costs of donors from these groups.

A small portion of each volunteer's blood donation will be siphoned off for the tissue-typing tests. Donors' tissue types are then entered into the computerized registry, and if there is a preliminary match with a patient who needs a transplant, additional blood tests are scheduled. The odds of finding an unrelated donor match are from one in a hundred to one in a million. The marrow collection process for compatible donors is a simple surgical procedure that usually requires an overnight stay in the hospital.

Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences in selected energy technologies. Brookhaven is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., a nonprofit research management organization, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.