Inauguration of the 1st Non-Governmental Registration Center for Donating Hematopoietic Stem Cells
The first non-governmental registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells was inaugurated on July 23, 2017, at MAHAK by representing the Iranian civil capacity in support of children suffering from cancer.
According to MAHAK’s core mission which is providing cancer-stricken children with comprehensive treatment and support services, MAHAK hospital founded its cell transplantation ward in 2011 but has always been involved with the challenge to provide compatible hematopoietic stem cells for children in need. In most cases, there is only a 25% chance of receiving bone marrow from parents or siblings and it is obvious that being the only child in the family reduces this opportunity even further. Inadequate samples’ availability in registration centers and national banks, the high cost of searching for samples at international centers, difficulties of transferring the samples from other countries, and genetic incompatibility of these samples underscore the necessity of developing national registration centers.
Providing the infrastructural requirements of hematopoietic stem cells transplantation as a treatment for some types of cancer has always been this hospital’s concern and after many years of conducting various researches, MAHAK is establishing the registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells. In order to meet the cost of the tests and experiments on 5000 primary donated samples at MAHAK registration center, which is the main challenge of other alike centers, MAHAK has signed an MOU with a private sector entity under the rubric of a social responsibility action. According to this one-year MOU, Bahman Motor Co. and Bahman Diesel Co. are committed to funding the HLA typing experiments of 5000 donated samples of hematopoietic stem cells by allocating a fixed percentage of their sales revenue to this end.
Message from the CEO:
MAHAK’s Hematopoietic Stem Cells Donation Center; Corporate Social Responsibility Put into Practice
During more than a quarter-century of activity, MAHAK has always striven to provide its stakeholders with timely comprehensive reports based on its core principals of transparency and accountability. Furthermore, MAHAK, as an NGO with the superior motive to serve humankind has included it in its first strategic plan in 2007 the promotion of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) focusing on utilizing the private sector and business entities’ capacity and continuously has taken action in this arena exemplified by holding four biennial international CSR congresses focusing on childhood cancer respectively in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017.
Now, we are proud to announce that through benevolent support of the ever expanding family of MAHAK, another success has been achieved in line with providing cancer-stricken children with comprehensive support services by inaugurating the 1st non-governmental registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells at MAHAK as the result of a joint CSR project which was introduced at the 4th MAHAK’s International Congress on Corporate Social Responsibility.
The ‘registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells’ known as the first social responsibility project in this field is a non-governmental and non-profit center operating based on an MOU with the private sector aiming to eliminate one of the key challenges of this process which is covering the expenses of registration and HLA typing of 5000 donated samples; an excessive process not only for MAHAK’s center but also for other national and international alike centers. Inauguration of this center by the financial support of Bahman Motor Co. and Bahman Diesel Co. is a practical experience of corporate social responsibility.
Attracting donors and increasing the number of registered samples in this kind of centers are among other challenges faced by such centers since medical and pharmaceutical facilities without access to compatible hematopoietic stem cells have no use. In other words, the value of these centers is measured in the number of registered samples according to international standards. We strongly believe that by the continuous support of the ever expanding family of MAHAK, we will not face such a problem and this center will be the largest registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells in the Middle East providing services not only for cancer-stricken children but also for all patients in need of transplantation.
MAHAK has fulfilled the need to deliver comprehensive services to children with cancer and improving the quality of their lives by the cooperation of the three main pillars of the society, the government, business enterprises and community-based organizations.
We hope that projects like these where with the cooperation of private sector we can reduce and ultimately eliminate health care problems in our country Iran, could become a model for the world in health care services.
The Report on the Inauguration Ceremony of the Registration Centerfor Donating Hematopoietic Stem Cells at MAHAK
The opening ceremony of MAHAK’s registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells was held with the presence of Dr. Kamranzadeh, the secretary of the national network for donors of hematopoietic blood stem cell in Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization, Dr. Jamali, General Director of NGOS in the social affairs of the ministry of health and medical education, Bahman Motors and Bahman Diesel’s representatives, members of MAHAK’s boards of trustees and directors, the CEO, managers, staff and a group of supporters on July 23, 2017 at MAHAK. During this ceremony, after explaining the importance of hematopoietic stem cells transplantation in pediatric cancer treatment and the necessity of founding this center, all the participants were provided with the opportunity to register for donating samples of hematopoietic stem cells samples.
Corporate Social Responsibility of Business Entities in Practice
At the beginning of this ceremony, Arasb Ahmadian, CEO of MAHAK, welcoming all the participants and highlighting the 10th anniversary of MAHAK hospital’s activity said: “during the years of 2004 to 2016, MAHAK faced a remarkable growth of 14% in new cases, 22% in under treatment cases and 352% in treatment expenses.”
Referring to the actions taken by MAHAK so far, he added: ”Today, we are proud to announce that through benevolent support of the ever expanding family of MAHAK, no child with cancer is ever refused treatment due to insufficient financial means as far as in the third strategic plan of MAHAK, the focus is on the quality of services provided to cancer-stricken children and their families.”
He continued with MAHAK’s performance report in the past quarter of century and said: “According to the statement of Kofi Anan, the 7th secretary general of the United Nations about entering the 3rd millennium, the world of this era is the outcome of the synergy among 3 main pillars; the governments, business entities, and NGOs which have the main role in empowering the infrastructures, the economy and the civil society. All the actions in the world are the outcome of this synergy. The cooperation between the government and business entities will lead to economically sustainable development growth, the relation between the government and the civil society brings socially sustainable development growth and the relation between civil society and business entities will lead to social responsibility projects which can provide the basis for resolving social challenges and facilitating business entities’ operation.”
Stating that the concept of social responsibility was highlighted in MAHAK’s strategic plan from 2005, he added: “stem cell transplantation is impossible without a registration center or bank for donated samples of hematopoietic stem cells. Accordingly, MAHAK registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells’ as the first social responsibility project in this field is a non-governmental and non-profit center operating based on an MOU with the private sector in order to meet the cost of the tests and experiments on 5000 primary donated samples at MAHAK registration center, aiming to eliminate this challenge which is not only for MAHAK’s center but also for other national and international alike centers. Inauguration of this center by the financial support of Bahman Motor Co. and Bahman Diesel Co. is a practical experience of corporate social responsibility.”
CEO of MAHAK finished his speech by: “we believe that we can celebrate the remission of more cancer-stricken children in the near future by inaugurating this registration center.”
Social Responsibility; A Necessity for a Business Entity
Mr. Amirabbas Hosseini, member of Bahman Diesel’s board of directors, expressed his gratitude about the cooperation of the private sector with MAHAK in a form of a social responsibility project in the form of establishing a registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells and stated: “the concept of social responsibility has a strong history in Persian culture. In industrial societies, the concept of social responsibility is raised as development and corporate citizenship in the form of activities affecting the society including all the stakeholders as well as the enterprises’ staff and customers.”
He added:”among Bahman group members, social responsibility means stepping towards our strategic principals including a wide range of activities besides the economic ones. This concept is defined among us as a tool for creating loyalty and value rather than merely promoting the product.”
Explaining the first social responsibility projects with MAHAK, member of Bahman Diesel’s board of directors said:”Bahman group has signed an MOU with MAHAK, a pioneer organization in promoting the concept of social responsibility, in order to cover the expenses of registration and HLA typing of 5000 donated samples last year and has always consider MAHAK’s principals, frameworks, and concerns in this process of creating culture and promoting the concept of CSR.”
He stated: “inaugurating the first non-governmental registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells samples is a modern pattern for the cooperation of the private sector and NGOs and Bahman Group uses this opportunity to realize its strategic demands. This project not only covers the expenses of collecting 5000 donated samples which are needed to launch this registration center but also enhances hope among cancer-stricken children as the assets of our country.”
Another Achievement in Pediatric Cancer Treatment
Dr. Azim Mehrvar, head of MAHAK Pediatric Cancer Treatment and Research Center (MPCTRC) described hematopoietic stem cells transplantation as the treatment for some types of cancer and stated: “there is a remarkable progress in cancer treatment as far as the life expectancy is increased among this group of patients.”
Flash backing to inauguration of MAHAK transplantation ward in 2011, he added:” since 6 years ago, we have done 150 stem cells transplantations at MAHAK and we hope for accessing more compatible samples by registering different HLA types in this new center to take another step towards pediatric cancer patients’ treatment.”
Joining International Network of RegistrationCenters of Hematopoietic Stem Cells
As the next speaker, Mr. Hamidreza Davoodzadeh, CEO of Bahman Motor, said: “we are glad that coinciding the 25th anniversary of MAHAK and 50th anniversary of Bahman Group, an MOU has been signed in order to inaugurate the registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells which has enabled us to be involved with children’s healthcare system.”
Referring to the new era of Bahman Group’s operations through privatization and its vision towards social responsibility, he added:” according to the signed MOU, 5000 donated samples will be registered at MAHAK’s registration center. We hope that during the 2nd phase, in cooperation with MAHAK, we can join and collaborate with the international networks of registration centers for donating hematopoietic stem cells.”
The 1st Corporate Social Responsibility Project Focusing on Hematopoietic Stem Cells
Saba Kamkar, manager of public and international relations department of MAHAK, after delineating MAHAK’s three main stakeholder groupings as service recipients receivers, financialcontributors and the society as a whole said: “establishing this center for donating hematopoietic stem cells is the first CSR project in this field and properly addresses stakeholders’ expectations after 9 years of research and analysis.”
Referring to MAHAK’s laboratory and transplantation specialists’ considerations about the necessity and importance of founding a center for providing required hematopoietic stem cells samples and its financial challenges, she stated: “the process of HLA typing for each donor costs 4,000,000 IRR (almost $100) which is covered by the private sector through an MOU as a social responsibility project.”
According to the aforementioned Memorandum of Understanding, Bahman Motor Co. and Bahman Diesel Co. are committed to funding for HLA typing experiments of 5000 donated samples of hematopoietic stem cells by allocating a fixed percentage of their sales revenue to found the first non-governmental registration center for donating samples. In continue, she added: “We hope that by continuous support of the ever expanding family of MAHAK, by 2021, this center will become one of the largest of its type for donated samples of hematopoietic stem cells in the Middle East.
Saba Kamkar entitled this project as ‘MAHAK’s social responsibility in practice’, since this center’s database will be accessible for all people in Iran as well as neighboring countries. She also declared that establishment of this center for registration and donation of hematopoietic stem cells is a new partnership method in supporting cancer-stricken children and improving Iranian civil capacity.
No Matching Donor for a lot of Patients in Need of Transplantation
Dr. Vahid Fallah Azad, clinical and anatomical pathologist and MAHAK’s lab director analogized hematopoietic stem cells to seeds that are isolated from bone marrow, peripheral blood or umbilical cord and injected into the bare earth, body, which has already undergone a chemotherapy process; and stated: “low effectiveness and high cost of collecting samples from international stem cells banks, lack of donors in national stem cells banks as well as increasing the number of one-child families have resulted in the fact that a lot of patients in need of transplantation cannot find a matching donor among their family members. These are what primarily inspired MAHAK to establish a registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells samples.”
The Importance of HLA Matching in Stem Cell Transplantation
Dr. Fallah Azad, stating that MAHAK is the first center using saliva samples for HLA typing said:” the first hematopoietic stem cells registration center was established in Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization in 2009 and the national network of hematopoietic stem cells donors was formed in 2015 with 9 centers. Since September 2016, it has become possible to search for more than 30 million donors and more than 700,000 units of umbilical cord blood in the global network of hematopoietic stem cells donors.”
He explained that: “Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing is used to match patients and donors for bone marrow or cord blood transplants. HLA are proteins found in most cells in the body including white blood cells.” Emphasizing the importance of HLA in stem cell transplantation, he added: “A close match between a donor’s and a patient’s HLA markers is essential for a successful transplant outcome.”
Regarding the eligibility of the hematopoietic stem cells donors, Dr. Fallah Azad said:” there are a few conditions for a proper donor including being in the ages 18 to 50, no history of cancer or chemotherapy, and no contagious blood disease such as AIDS or hepatitis. Once these conditions are met, HLA genes in classes 1 and 2 will be analyzed according to Molecular and SSO hybridization.”
Mother of a Cancer-Stricken Child in Need of Transplantation at Top of the List of Donors
A speech by one of the cancer-stricken children's mothers was another part of this event. As a mother who is waiting for a compatible sample for her child, she talked about her willingness to join MAHAK’s registration center and said: “It is one year that we are involved in my daughter's blood cancer treatment. When doctors told me ٍthat Elaheh, my daughter, is need of transplantations, I was wondering if there is any compatible donor for her. Thank God, her brother’s HLA is compatible with hers and the operation will be done very soon.”
She continued:”I see and know a lot of children like my own daughter to whom stem cell transplantation is a light of hope. However, they are provided with comprehensive medical and treatment facilities but their treatment continuation depends on finding a compatible donor. Today, I will join MAHAK’s registration center for donating hematopoietic stem cells in order to not letting other cancer-stricken children get disappointed.”
The Largest Hematopoietic Stem Cells Registration Center by 2021
MAHAK deeply hopes that with reaching the project’s objectives by the first of 2018, the 2nd phase will initiate with the aim of connecting international hematopoietic stem cells banks and predicts that by endless love and support of the ever expanding family of MAHAK and Iranian civil capacity, this center will be one of the largest centers in the region.