An east London academic has launched an emotional plea to find a donor with a bone marrow match to save his daughter’s life.

Dad Dr Stefano Casalotti is not a suitable candidate to provide stem cells to daughter Lara.

The 24-year-old is suffering from an aggressive form of leukaemia which was discovered after she was taken ill in Thailand last December.

Blood tests revealed she was suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia and after undergoing chemotherapy at University College Hospital, she has been told a stem cell transplant is imperative to save her life.

Lara’s mixed heritage - of an Italian father and Thai mum - means finding a donor has been extra tricky.

Doctors have suggested Lara’s best chance of survival is to be paired with a person with mixed race, Asian-European heritage between the ages of 16 and 30.


“I’m seeing this as both a parent and a scientist,” said Dr Casalotti.

“Doctors and scientists are doing their best to cure this disease but we know that for the next 10 or 20 years we will still need stem cells or transplants as part of the treatment.

“Unfortunately I cannot help even though I am on the bone marrow register and have been for many years.

“If we were all on the register, then when anybody needed stem cells, a match could be found.”

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The senior lecturer in UEL’s School of Health, Sport and Bioscience has teamed up with UEL’s Marrow Society which has organised a donor registration event on Friday, January 29.

Those who attend the session at UEL’s Docklands campus will just need to provide a saliva sample.

Dr Casalotti’s plight has already attracted the support of celebrities including author JK Rowling and TV presenter Stephen Fry.

Friday, January 29 in EB G10 between 9am and 6pm, Docklands Campus at UEL.

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