This site is intended for health professionals only

Saliva kit to encourage more donors

A leukaemia charity has said providing a saliva sample may be an easier way of joining the bone marrow register than giving blood samples.

The Anthony Nolan Trust said the launch of its saliva kits would be revolutionary to getting more people on to the register.

And it added that the new system could double the number of leukaemia patients' lives saved every day.

Before the new system was introduced, donors wishing to join the register would have to provide blood samples.

This meant either visiting a doctor or waiting for a recruitment event to visit the area.

But from now, would-be donors are able to request a saliva kit and return the sample in the post.

All they will need to do is complete a medical questionnaire, spit into a tube and send it back, the charity said.

Chief executive Henny Braund said: "We urgently need to increase the number of people on our register and saliva testing will help us do that much more quickly and effectively."

The charity said the new saliva test was in part a response to busy modern lifestyles, which leave potential donors without the time to travel to a recruitment event.

Those wanting to join the bone marrow register must be aged between 18 and 40, weigh more than eight stone (51 kg) and be in general good health.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Anthony Nolan Trust