The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 55.0°F | Overcast

Marrow drive begins Sunday

By Jeremy Hylton

John P. Corcoran, East Campus house manager, in cooperation with a New Jersey health organization, will sponsor a drive for bone marrow donors on Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm in La Sala de Puerto Rico in the Stratton Student Center.

Corcoran is searching for a marrow donor for his son, Christopher J. Corcoran, 24, who suffers from leukemia. Christopher was diagnosed as having the disease one and a half months ago. A bone marrow transplant is vital for treatment of the disease.

Christopher's father has raised $26,000 from community organizations and a raffle to pay

for the blood samples and tissue tests. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) will provide matching funds for all the money raised. The tests, which cost $65 to $75, will be administered by volunteers from the

MIT Medical Center and Youville Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.

The Somerville City Club, of which John is a member, raised $10,000 and plans to bus Somerville residents to the donor drive. Elks Clubs statewide, the Technology Community Association and East Campus residents have also lent support to the drive.

In addition, Campus Police and the Physical Plant staff have cooperated.

Corcoran began preparation for the drive one month ago, because his son could not find a tissue match within his family. There is a 30 percent chance that a person with leukemia will

find a tissue match with a fam-

ily member, according to NMDP literature.

The NMDP registry also failed to find a match for Christopher, but referred him to the New Jersey Human Leukocyte Antigen Registry. The registry, working with the NMDP, has organized several donor drives in the past.

"The outpouring has been fantastic," said John Corcoran. "If there is an overflow of people, we'll set up another testing in the very near future."

Prospective donors need to give a small blood sample. The sample will be used to test the donor's tissue type, which will be entered into the NMDP registry.

Being entered in the registry does not constitute commitment to donate marrow, but John felt a donor would emerge from this process. "We're hoping that Chris can be helped by this," he said. He added that he felt the drive might also help others searching for donors.

The samples will be sent to the Roche Laboratories, where they will be processed and entered into the NMDP registry. If a donor is found, the Corcorans will be notified in three or four days.

The NMDP maintains a computerized list of approximately 138,000 donors throughout the country. The list was established by several nationwide health organizations in 1987 to aid patients searching for marrow donors.

Marrow from donors is removed from the pelvic bones at the sides of the lower back. The 45-minute procedure is performed under general anesthetic. An overnight hospital stay is advised and some discomfort results.