Here's Why a Dallas-area Teen's Ethnic Background Reduces His Chances for a Needed Bone Marrow Transplant

David Mojica showered and got ready for school one day in April last year when his brother asked him a question: What are those reddish spots on your neck?David, 14, showed the spots to his mom, who playfully teased her youngest son, saying the spots looked like “hickeys,” or neck bites.But the marks turned out to be no joking matter. Within days, David noticed more spots on his body. His mom took him to the doctor for a blood test, which revealed David had aplastic anemia, a rare and life-threatening blood disorder. The May 2018 diagnosis quickly put David in desperate need of a bone-marrow transplant.David’s chances of beating the disease are lower because he’s Mexican-American. With bone marrow transplants, genetic markers are used to determine a suitable match. For David — and for thousands of patients in the U.S. with blood diseases such as aplastic anemia, leukemia or sickle cell anemia —survival depends on finding a donor with a similar ethnic background.And the pool of minority donors, for complex social and scientific reasons, is simply smaller.  Continue reading...

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