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September 01, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 15)

The National Marrow Donor Program

  • Good cause
  • Weak in some areas
Bone marrow, of course, is the source of cells that differentiate to make blood cells. Diseases of the bone marrow and/or treatments that destroy the bone marrow create a need for patients to receive transplants of this material to stay alive. If the patient was able to have her/his own marrow collected before the treatment or if they have a close relative whose tissue matches well, they are set. Many people are not so fortunate, however, and must rely on donations from strangers who happen to match their type. It is towards that need that the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is aimed. The site is intelligently broken into five sub-sites to meet the needs of its diverse visitors. They include a page of info for participants, two research-related sites (Bioinformatics and Research), a financial arm (Marrow Foundation), and a site for medical professionals interested in databases (Sequence). The Research site is almost totally lacking in useful content, but the Bioinformatics site makes up for it. It is clearly here where visitors should go upon arrival.
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