SCRI (Stem Cell Registry India) is an initiative of BMST, supported by DKMS, with the joint aim of registering potential stem cell donors. By doing this, SCRI helps patients suffering from blood cancers and other disorders, i.e.Thalassemia and Aplastic Anemia, to find a matching stem cell donor, in order to give them a second chance at life.
BMST (Bangalore Medical Services Trust) is a non-profit organization established in 1984 in order to provide blood-banking services through the Rotary Bangalore-TTK Blood Bank. It has since grown to include HLA typing, alongside other laboratory services and community initiatives. BMST has vast experience in safe, high quality blood banking and the recruitment of voluntary blood donors.
DKMS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer. DKMS was established in 1991 in Germany by Dr. Peter Harf, who lost his wife to Leukaemia. Today, DKMS has grown to become one of the largest donor centers, with over 7 million registered donors worldwide.
WHAT WE DO
• We create awareness of blood cancer, thalassemia and aplastic anemia diseases and treatments.
• We recruit stem cell donors in order to give patients a second chance at life.
• We engage the public as well as corporations to organise donor drives.
• We raise funds in order to match registration costs and expand our services to better serve patients.
• We maintain donor relationship from day one of registration until stem cell donation.
Over the years, the BMST mission has expanded to offer additional services, including training, research, awareness, education, counselling, testing, referral services and additional laboratory services for blood banking, organ and stem cell transplantation and community health. In 2008, BMST independently initiated the SCRI pilot project, which aimed to educate and recruit potential stem cell donors from the existing voluntary blood donor data pool. In 2015, BMST expanded the project by establishing a close cooperation with the internationally leading stem cell donor centre DKMS and a certified HLA laboratory, allowing them to obtain high resolution tissue typing services at the lowest possible cost.
The vision of DKMS is to delete blood cancer. In order to help blood cancer patients worldwide, international activities have been expanded over the past several years by opening offices in the US, Poland, Spain, and in the UK.
Since 1991, DKMS donors have provided stem cells to over 60,000 patients worldwide and over 150 patients in India. DKMS has been collaborating with major stem cell transplant centres in India since 2008, in order to help facilitate donor searches and to provide stem cells transplants from DKMS donors to Indian patients.
Since 2012, DKMS has provided Indian transplant centres with access to an anonymised database of stem cell donors registered with DKMS and performed confirmatory testing on potential donors.
This allows Indian transplant physicians to directly search for a donor and confirm the donor is an appropriate match.
DKMS has thus developed a credible relationship with stem cell transplant physicians in India and is highly respected within the international community. Since 2015, DKMS is supporting BMST and providing essential assistance towards the SCRI project.
Dr. Latha Jagannathan
Medical Director & Managing Trustee
Ms. Shalini Gambhir
Head - Donor Recruitment & Communications
Dr. Sanjana Dontula
Head - Medical Affairs
Dr. Latha Jagannathan, established Bangalore Medical Services Trust (BMST), a not-for-profit organization in 1984. As the Medical Director & Managing Trustee, she has been responsible for its operations to date, providing international quality standards and supporting its growth in Karnataka as a Regional Blood Transfusion Centre and well-respected service provider. She conceptualized the Stem Cell Registry India initiative of BMST in 2008 and has nurtured it since. In 2015 she was instrumental in sealing the cooperation with DKMS Germany, in order to develop SCRI to new levels of operations and excellence.
She is an invited member on several government bodies and NGOs, including the National Blood Transfusion Council and Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immuno-haematology (ISBTI); Technical Resource Group, National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Government of India; Karnataka State AIDS Prevention & Control Society; South Asian Association of Transfusion Medicine (SAATM); Steering Committee for Bio-Medical Waste Management, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB); Fogarty Fellow, Blood safety initiative, Art Reingold et al. Berkeley University, CA, USA; Member of the Task Force on Health and Family Welfare and Task Force on HIV/AIDS, Government of Karnataka. Dr. Latha headed the Corporate Social Responsibility cell of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Karnataka for many years.
She was awarded the “Citizen Extraordinaire” award by Rotary club of Bangalore in the Rotary-centenary year, 2005.
Dr. Latha Jagannathan studied Medicine at the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, and was trained at Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati, Ohio in tissue matching and typing.
Ms. Shalini Gambhir is the Head of Donor Recruitment and Communications in the SCRI initiative of BMST, supported by DKMS. She leads the strategies and partnerships for donor recruitment to positively impact the quantity and quality of potentially lifesaving donor registrations. She oversees all marketing, communication and public relations, focusing on building the SCRI brand identity and message. Shalini additionally manages Data Management and Fundraising at Stem Cell Registry India.
Shalini joined BMST in 2003 after working as a school teacher for many years and a part time film maker. She was a member of the CSR Panel at CII Karnataka and has served as a CSR consultant with an MNC for 8 years. She was a Master Trainer and a member of the Expert Committee for Life Skills Education with the Department of State Education Research & Training, Government of Karnataka. She has worked extensively in the areas of HIV/AIDS and Life Skills education, gender issues and gender based violence, designing and heading a BMST workplace intervention programme supported initially by HIVOS (2010-2013), then the World Bank (2014-2015) and most recently the Levi Strauss Foundation (2016).
Shalini holds a BA (Economics Honours) degree from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi, a B.Ed degree from Annamalai University, and a MA (Economics) degree from Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.
Dr. Sanjana Dontula is the Head of Medical Affairs and is responsible for Confirmatory Typing, Work-up, Donor Patient follow up at SCRI. She oversees all medical processes leading to donation, from Confirmatory Typing, in order to check if the donor is a suitable match for the patient, to Work-Up, in order to prepare the donor for the donation. She also oversees donor recovery, coordinates post-donation medical care and manages donor-patient contact following the transplant, all while ensuring confidentiality for both the donor and the patient. She is the point of contact for various Collection Centres and Transplant Clinics across India.
Over the last 20 years, Dr. Sanjana has accumulated a wide range of experience in academia, industry and NGOs in India and abroad. She joined BMST in 2006 and has held different roles in the blood bank, including Transfusion Microbiologist, Donor Counsellor and Quality Manager. In the last role, she worked closely with the National Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, a designated WHO Collaborating Centre. She led the effort to achieve NABH accreditation for the blood bank. Dr. Sanjana is an invited faculty member of blood bank workshops and conferences. She has several publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Sanjana trained as a physician and completed her medical education (M.B.B.S.) from Indira Gandhi Medical College, Nagpur, India. Subsequently, she completed her post-graduate specialization (M.D.) in Clinical Microbiology at B J Medical College, Pune, India.