For the first time, a medical facility in Idaho will be able to collect stem cell and bone marrow donations for use around the country. Previously, donors in the Mountain West had to go as far as Seattle or Denver.
This week, the Mountain States Tumor Institute at St. Luke’s Boise campus was designated the first donation center in the state that can collect bone marrow and stem cells from donors for use nationwide.
“The Boise area, the whole Idaho area needs this,” says Dr. Bill Kreisle. “Our population is growing so much, and I think we’ve gotten to the point it’s one more service our patients need.”
Kreisle is a blood cancer specialist who works at the institute.
He says for 25 years, St. Luke’s has had the capability of collecting bone marrow and stem cells for use there. Now, after getting certified by the National Marrow Donor Program, the hospital can collect the life-saving materials and send them to patients anywhere in the U.S.
With the new center in the heart of the Mountain West, donating marrow and stem cells has gotten easier for people across the region.
“People who have volunteered to be donors, you know right now they have to travel to one of the major cities on the West Coast or to Denver to have collection,” says Kreisle. “Now those in our area don’t have to travel so far.”
Over 14,000 people a year with certain cancers or other rare blood diseases need bone marrow or stem cell transplants to survive.
For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915
Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio