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      Bone Marrow Registry 'Especially Important for Jews'

      MKs Bielsky and Orlev say the government should fund a national bone marrow registry.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 3/1/2010, 10:32 PM / Last Update: 3/1/2010, 10:47 PM

      Flash 90

      MKs Zev Bielsky (Kadima) and Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) are working to promote a bill that would require the government to establish and fund a national bone marrow registry. The bill passed an initial vote last week.

      MK Zev Bielsky (Kadima), one of the bill's supporters, spoke to Arutz Sheva's Hebrew news service on Monday. Bielsky said the bill was particularly important due to the fact that Jews tend to share common genetics, making Israeli Jews in need of a bone marrow transplant likely to find their match among their fellow Jews, and not through a foreign registry.

      The MK spoke from Schneider Medical Center, where most bone marrow transplants in Israel are performed.

      Israel currently has a bone marrow registry operated by the non-profit organization Ezer Mitzion. The registry has approximately 500,000 samples. Collection of each additional sample costs the organization 180 shekels.

      Ezer Mitzion has spent a total of roughly 100 million shekels to establish and operate the registry, Bielsky said. When asked how the government would fund a national registry, Bielsky said that he has learned how much coalition budgets cost, and that if Ezer Mitzion receives the tiniest fraction of a percentage point of that budget – it will be enough to fund all of its activity.