Virtual campaign against blood cancer

MHB students raise awareness in combating leukaemia

Neuruppin, 15 April 2020

Saving lives in times of Corona: An MHB student initiative and the German bone marrow donor file DKMS start a virtual typification campaign. DKMS, a non-profit limited liability company, collects and organises donations of stem cells to patients suffering from leukaemia, which means a second chance at life.

Josephine Steinborn, MHB medical student and member of the student initiative who conducted a first round of typification last December, reports that every 15 minutes a patient in Germany is diagnosed with blood cancer. Many of them fail to find compatible donors.

Cotton swabs against leukaemia

The December 2019 campaign organised jointly with DKMS in Neuruppin, so Steinborn, yielded approximately 70 new potential donors: “But many affected patients are still searching for a genetic twin. The current Corona pandemic has forced us to cancel and postpone all DKMS typification activities on site; this is why we appeal to all healthy people between 17 and 55 resident in Germany to register. The procedure is free of charge and works via cotton swabs.”

Cell material needs to be collected from inside the cheek with a cotton swab; taking three samples with three different cotton buds takes about three minutes. These three minutes may save a life. The tissue samples collected in this way are then analysed in the DKMS laboratories, and results are entered in a data base.

Interested? You get a set for registration and pertinent information on the topic of stem cell donations and blood cancer at

Josephine Steinborn underlines how important it is to send the cotton swabs back: “In our experience, almost 40% of ordered cotton swabs are not returned. It is very important to send them back, and the DKMS even covers the postage.”