SINCE the Mail launched its ‘Take Five Minutes’ campaign to get more people to sign up to be blood and bone marrow donors there has been an unprecedented response.
One of the ways people can sign up to donate, if they are aged 16 to 30, is through the Anthony Nolan Trust.
All it involves is spitting in a tube and signing a few forms and before you know it you could help somebody like Katherine Sinfield, who needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life after she was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Now, the Anthony Nolan Trust has revealed to the Mail just what happens when you spit in a tube and sign up to be a donor.
1 - As soon as they receive the spit kit in the post, expert scientists in state-of-the-art laboratories begin to process the saliva sample in order to add them to the bone marrow register.
2. They firstly scan the sample’s unique barcode, ‘checking it in’ at our labs.
3. They then need to extract the DNA in the saliva to begin the tissue typing process.
4. The DNA extraction takes three hours, and they process 96 samples at once.
5. The samples are then tested in the state-of-the-art LabXpress machines, nicknamed Nelly and Howie, which are specific to donor tissue typing. The typing takes eight to 10 hours.
6. Once the machines have done their work, scientists analyse and authenticate every single result to ensure the donor has been tissue typed correctly.
7. The trust hold onto samples in case there are any queries with the process, usually for around 6 weeks.
8. Scientists then complete the paperwork which adds the donor to the bone marrow register.
9. The whole process takes around six weeks, and around 30 to 40 people will have been involved in processing each saliva sample.
More information is available by visiting www.anthonynolan.org filling in a short application form.