South African Bone Marrow Registry

The South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) was established in 1991, motivated by the concern that although bone marrow transplants were a life-saving treatment option, it was only available to patients with a matching donor in their family. Frequently, searches extend worldwide, thus collaboration with international registries is essential.

In 1997 SABMR facilitated the first-ever unrelated transplant in South Africa using bone marrow from a Belgian donor, which was flown overnight to Johannesburg where the patient received the infusion. This was the first of many transplants that have since been facilitated by the SABMR.

Today somebody in South Africa could be diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder like leukaemia. It might be someone you know: a friend, a colleague, a relative, your sister or brother, your partner, your child. It might even be you.

This person may be given only a few months to live - unless they have a bone marrow transplant, their last hope for survival.

Seventy five percent of these patients will not have a matched family donor and a search for a matched unrelated donor will be requested by their doctor. The search will immediately be initiated by the SABMR. Then...

  • ... if the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) can find them a perfect tissue match somewhere in the world;
  • ... if that registered donor is in good health and able to spend six hours in hospital linked to an intravenous line to donate their stem cells;
  • ... if the cells can be transported in time to the patient;
  • ... if the transplant proceeds smoothly
  • ... if everything goes according to plan, that fortunate patient will live a full life.

Financial contributions are vital to the running of the SABMR, a non-profit organisation which receives no government support and relies on individual and corporate donors to help fund its high overheads and continue its life-saving work. To contribute, visit and click on the 'donate' button. For any further information please do not hesitate to contact us on 021-447-8638 or

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South African Bone Marrow Registry

Telephone:021 447 8638