Campus - 06.12.2023 - 08:00 

HSG students get involved in the fight against leukaemia

Anyone suffering from leukaemia can often only be cured by donating blood stem cells. HSG students from the student initiative "St.Gallen against Leukaemia" are organising a public registration campaign in the HSG's SQUARE on 12 December. At this event, people between the ages of 18 and 40 can be entered in the Swiss register of blood stem cell donors. 

"In Switzerland, people fall ill with leukaemia every day, including children. The disease can affect anyone," says HSG Master's student Jonas Jörchel. He is involved in the "St.Gallen against Leukaemia" initiative, which HSG students launched in 2011. The initiative is one of around 140 student associations at the HSG. Since 2011, "St.Gallen against Leukaemia" has held an annual public typing event on the HSG campus to identify potential blood stem cell donors. 

In 2023, this event will take place on 12 December from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the HSG's SQUARE. People can register with the Swiss registry on site in an uncomplicated manner and within a few minutes. This is linked to all other registries worldwide so that suitable donors can be searched for internationally. "Anyone who wants to can also simply find out more. Information material will be available and experts from our partner organisation, Swiss Transfusion SRC, will be on hand to answer questions," says Jörchel. The day organised by HSG students is the largest registration event in Eastern Switzerland.

It is particularly important to know that a blood stem cell donation is made in 80 per cent of cases through a simple access to the bloodstream, says Jörchel. The blood flows from one arm into a cell separator, which removes the blood stem cells and white blood cells. The blood then flows back to the donor with all the remaining components. In 20 per cent of donations, the blood stem cells are removed by bone marrow puncture.

Over 1000 people registered at HSG for database

All healthy people between the ages of 18 and 40 are suitable as donors. The SRC Blood Transfusion Switzerland online check includes a short questionnaire that allows you to assess whether you can register as a donor. This can also be done online. You will then be sent a test kit to take an oral mucosa sample home. "However, our typing day makes it easy to take the sample and register on site," says Jörchel. 

He estimates that over 1,000 people have been registered since the "St.Gallen against Leukaemia" initiative was launched at the HSG. "Many students spontaneously decide to take part and have their tissue characteristics recorded." In addition, the entire population of St.Gallen is invited to find out more at SQUARE and register if they are eligible. Various drinks and snacks will be available. 

The more people who register, the better, as Swiss Transfusion SRC writes on "Unfortunately, it is difficult to find suitable donors for patients. This is because the tissue characteristics of the donor and recipient must match exactly for a transplant to be possible. The more people there are in the blood stem cell donor register, the greater the chance of finding a match for affected people."

Discover our special topics