Our story begins in 1991, when our founder, Dr. Peter Harf, lost his wife Mechtild to leukemia. Peter promised his wife to help everyone in need of a stem cell donation to find a matching donor.
At that time, there were only 3,000 potential stem cell donors available in Germany. Peter founded DKMS Germany, and within just one year the number of potential donors increased to 68,000.
This was reason enough for our founder to believe in his vision – to delete blood cancer and to give every blood cancer patient a second chance at life. In 2004, we embarked on our international journey by establishing offices in the Americas, and we continued the expedition with openings in 2009 in Poland, in 2011 in Spain and in 2013 in the UK.
The fate of patients like Michelle and Nina is our driving force. A stem cell donation can save the life of someone who is suffering from blood cancer.
15 year old Michelle was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL). Thanks to a stem cell donation Michelle can now lead a normal life again. “I would never have thought that I would be able to experience this!”
We provide access to treatment
We are committed to providing everyone in need of a stem cell donation with access to the treatment they need.
We help to improve therapies
We support and perform research to help advance blood cancer treatment and improve the survival rate of patients.
We care about patients
We maximize patients’ well-being!
• We create awareness of blood cancer and blood cancer treatment.
• We recruit stem cell donors to give those in need of a stem cell donation a second chance at life.
• We engage the public as well as companies to organize donor registration events.
• We raise funds to increase both the size and diversity of the worldwide pool of available stem cell donors.
• We help to improve blood cancer treatment – through our own research and state-of-the-art technology in our laboratory.
• We maintain our donor relationship from day one of registration until stem cell donation.
The costs for registering new donors are not assumed by the health-care system. Every euro counts in the fight against blood cancer because every registration of a new donor alone costs DKMS €35. You can get involved too! We need your help!
DKMS’s funding rests on two pillars: the monetary donations from individuals and businesses, and reimbursements from the health care systems for maintaining the donor database and for successfully matching a stem cell donor to a blood cancer patient in need of a donation.
Thanks to our dual funding strategy and our operational efficiency, DKMS is an economically viable nonprofit company that is self-sustaining and can work independently of public funds. However, despite all our successes, DKMS relies on financial support from donors who provide funds for the expansion of the database.
DR. ALEXANDER SCHMIDT, CMO
Managing Director for the areas of Medicine and Science.
SIRKO GEIST, CFO
Managing Director for the areas of Administration, Finances, Organization and Human Capital.
ROBIN STANKOVIC, COO
Managing Director for the areas Marketing, Fundraising, Donor Recruitment, Communication, Data Management.
The DKMS Foundation for Giving Life, the parent organization of DKMS, has been in existence since 1997.
The global DKMS Family
Every 35 seconds, someone somewhere in the world is diagnosed with blood cancer. DKMS gives hope to those in need of a stem cell donation, by providing people all around the world with a second chance at life.
We are over 850 people, representing more than 20 nationalities and located in 5 countries, dedicated to giving everyone in need of a stem cell donation a second chance at life.
In order to improve support and assistance for patients and family members, the foundation supports, among other things, the national patient conference of the DLH Deutsche Leukämie- und Lymphom-Hilfe e.V. (“German leukemia and lymphoma aid”). The foundation publishes a total of five volumes of booklets under the title Der Rote Ratgeber (“the red guide”) for patients and family members on the topics of blood cancer and stem cell donation.
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF DKMS FOUNDATION FOR GIVING LIFE
Dr. Peter Harf (Founder)
Dr. Dr. Christoph Glaser (Chairman of the Board)
Prof. Richard Champlin, MD (Vice Chairman of the Board)
Prof. Marcel van den Brink, MD, PhD
Alexandre Van Damme
Prof. John Hansen, MD
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Hoelzer
Dr. Antonella Mei-Pochtler
Alejandro Santo Domingo
Patrice de Talhouët
DKMS in USA
• Active since 2004
• Office in New York City
• 94 Employees
Visit DKMS USA
DKMS in Polska
• Active since 2009
• Office in Warsaw
• 87 Employees
Visit DKMS Polska
DKMS in Spain
• Active since 2011
• Office in Barcelona
• 4 Employees
Visit DKMS Spain
DKMS in UK
• Active since 2012
• Office in London
• 36 Employees
Visit DKMS UK
Quality programs are used to ensure the continuous development and improvement in both the quality and the quantity of potential donors registered with DKMS. We are committed to efficiency and finding a matching donor for everyone in need of a stem cell donation as quickly as possible. Optimizing the quality of donor data is therefore one of our top priorities. By developing our own search algorithm, the Hap-E Search (Haplotype-Enhanced Search), we use patient findings to identify potential donors, identify suitable mismatch donors (with slight deviations in matching tissue characteristics) and enable automated searches. Other DKMS quality programs include the new typing of old donor data at our own expense, the targeted search for replacement donors and the ancestry program – which is used to find donors with rare combinations of tissue characteristics.
The Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) was founded in 2013 in Dresden, Germany, with the goal of promoting innovative research in the field of blood cancer. The department supports and performs research projects in order to help understand the implications of blood cancer treatment and improve the outcome for patients. Fundamental research, as well as international and interdisciplinary collaboration, is essential for this purpose.
Learn more about the Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)
The annual report 2016 contains the statutes of DKMS and detailed financial information. You will learn how and what DKMS uses its income and expenditures for.
Our annual report 2016 describes in detail how DKMS came to be, what we are specifically doing for blood cancer patients, and what role DKMS plays in the global fight against blood cancer.
The DKMS Mechtild Harf Science Award is presented annually by the DKMS Foundation for Giving Life. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of internationally renowned individuals in the field of stem cell transplantation.
Katharina Fleischhauer (GER)
John A. Hansen (USA)
Richard J. O'Reilly (USA)
Dennis L. Confer MD (USA)
Prof. Guido Lucarelli (Italien)
Karl Blume (Deutschland)
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. hc. mult. Theodor M. Fliedner (Deutschland)
Rainer F. Storb (USA)
Jan van Rood MD, PhD (Niederlande)
Mary Horowitz MD,MS (USA)
Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Jochem Kolb (Deutschland)
Thomas E. Donnal MD (USA)
Eliane Gluckmann MD (Frankreich)
Efffie Wang Petersdorf MD (USA)
Dr. Helmut Geiger (Deutschland)
One of the focuses of Fleischhauer’s research is the so-called HLA-DPB1 marker, which is used for improved matching of stem cell donor and patient. Through her research the physician was able to identify beneficial HLA-DPB1 combinations, and major blood stem cell registries recently started to use these findings to improve their search procedures. When searching for a matching donor, new filters can be applied to display donors whose HLA-DPB1 types work well with the respective patient’s types. DKMS has included the HLA-DPB1 type in its typing profile of newly registered donors since 2013.
John A. Hansen has been instrumental in the success and effectiveness of stem cell transplantation for blood cancer patients, in particular with regard to our understanding of the impact of genetic variations within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC complex) on the success of transplant. He has furthermore conducted clinical studies to analyze the role of genes that are crucially involved in the regulation of cellular immune responses.
Each of our more than 15,000 volunteers support us in a variety of ways. Without their help, DKMS would not be nearly as successful in its mission to find the right donor for blood cancer patients around the world. Supporters are more likely to be nominated for the award if they carry out donor drives together with DKMS, collect monetary donations, or provide detailed information about blood cancer and stem cell donations. We would also consider you for the prize if you advise and support patients with diseases of the hematopoietic system and their family members.
2015: Michelle Büchner
2015: "Sina will leben"
Minikicker des TuS Solbad Ravensberg
Sarah Thibeault und Jorin Geller
AIAS München e.V.
Dr. Michael Bermes (Iserlohn)
Hidir Diyen (Köln)
Karlheinz Michen (Bremerhaven)
Brigitte Lehenberger (Münster am Lech)
Hilfsgruppe Eifel – Hilfe für krebskranke Kinder e.V. (Kall/Eifel)
Martin Hilker (Oelde)
Stiftung "Hilfe für Petra und andere" (Georgsmarienhütte),
Leukin e.V.; Verein zur Hilfe leukämiekranker Kinder e.V. (Ostrauderfehn)
Petra Neumann (Vorsitzende des Wolfsburg hilft e.V.)
Gerda Schommer (Gründerin der Selbsthilfegruppe Eltern krebskranker Kinder Amberg/Sulzbach e.V.)
Thomas Geidl und das Organisatorenteam des Neumarkter Stadtlaufes (Neumarkt)
Prof. Dr. med. Peter Lorbacher (Direktor a.D. der Deutschen Klinik für Diagnostik (DKD), Wiesbaden und Mitglied des Rotary Club)