Turkish Red Crescent's chairman Ahmet Lütfi Akar has said that Turkey will no longer be dependent on other countries on providing stem cells, thanks to the work of Turkey Stem Cell Coordination Center (TÜRKÖK). The chairman set a goal of 250.000 stem cell donations for the next three years.
Stating that the stem cell donations are accepted in 12 different points in Turkey Akar said that they aim to end dependency on other countries and provide stem cell transplants to all the patients in need.
Emphasizing the importance of stem cell transplants in treating fatal illnesses like cancer and leukemia, Akar said that bone marrow transplants are especially needed. He reported that 40.000 stem cell donations have been made in the first half of 2015 so far. He said that 65 percent of donors donated blood through Turkish Red Crescent and stated that most of the donors were young people aged between 18 and 25. He also added that these statistics were very promising as stem cell donors had to be young to be able to donate.
Reminding that 800 patients, 300 of whom are urgent and have cancer, are awaiting stem cell transplants, Akar stressed the importance of having our very own stem cell banks. "We want to reach 250,000 donations within three years". Akar also said that stem cell banks from America and Germany are being looked into for suitable match-ups.
Turkey Stem Cell Coordination Center (TÜRKÖK) has been working on increasing stem cell donations in cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkey's Health Ministry since 2013. TÜRKÖK has established Region Coordination Centers for stem cell donations in 29 Health Zones in Turkey so far.