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Release: Jan. 31, 2003

Project Marrow to hold donor registration drive Feb. 13 on UI campus

Project Marrow will sponsor its fourth annual donor registration drive from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 in the Iowa and Penn State Room of the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus. The public is invited to participate.

Four years ago, UI 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 involved in Project Marrow are responsible for membership, publicity and drive participation. Since the founding of Project Marrow in 1999, 859 volunteers have registered to donate, five volunteers have donated stem cells, and many have been called for additional testing. Project Marrow is closely affiliated with the Iowa Marrow Donor Program at UI Hospitals 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 18,785 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, contact Charlie Bartel, president, at (319) 321-0395 or by e-mail at

For more information about the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, contact Debra Hoyle, membership coordinator of the Iowa Marrow Donor Program, by e-mail at Information about the program also can be found online at

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