Opinionomics | 20 April 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. A US-heavy round-up featuring the IMF, Greg Mankiw, and some America

1. IMF and China are new BFFs (Finanical Times | alphaville)

"There seems to be something of a love-in going on between China and the IMF, though admittedly you have to wade through a weighty report to glimpse it," writes Masa Serdarevic.

2. Competition Is Healthy for Governments, Too (New York Times)

N. Gregory Mankiw argues that states compete, and are right to compete, to lower tax rates because of citizens moving.

3. America will not go the way of Europe (Washington Post | Wonkblog)

Ezra Klein explains why the Eurocrisis is sui generis, and thus why America will not follow that path.

4. Chris Grayling calls me a job snob for questioning those who pay so little (Guardian)

Polly Toynbee attacks Grayling, arguing that by cutting tax credits, he is harming the poorest in society.

5. The maths behind the madness (Economist | Graphic Detail)

The Economist present their "interactive guide to reducing government debt."

A homeless man smokes in New York City, where the poverty rate has hit 21 per cent since the recession. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

#Match4Lara
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#Match4Lara: Lara has found her match, but the search for mixed-race donors isn't over

A UK blood cancer charity has seen an "unprecedented spike" in donors from mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds since the campaign started. 

Lara Casalotti, the 24-year-old known round the world for her family's race to find her a stem cell donor, has found her match. As long as all goes ahead as planned, she will undergo a transplant in March.

Casalotti was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December, and doctors predicted that she would need a stem cell transplant by April. As I wrote a few weeks ago, her Thai-Italian heritage was a stumbling block, both thanks to biology (successful donors tend to fit your racial profile), and the fact that mixed-race people only make up around 3 per cent of international stem cell registries. The number of non-mixed minorities is also relatively low. 

That's why Casalotti's family launched a high profile campaign in the US, Thailand, Italy and the US to encourage more people - especially those from mixed or minority backgrounds - to register. It worked: the family estimates that upwards of 20,000 people have signed up through the campaign in less than a month.

Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity, also reported an "unprecedented spike" of donors from black, Asian, ethcnic minority or mixed race backgrounds. At certain points in the campaign over half of those signing up were from these groups, the highest proportion ever seen by the charity. 

Interestingly, it's not particularly likely that the campaign found Casalotti her match. Patient confidentiality regulations protect the nationality and identity of the donor, but Emily Rosselli from Anthony Nolan tells me that most patients don't find their donors through individual campaigns: 

 It’s usually unlikely that an individual finds their own match through their own campaign purely because there are tens of thousands of tissue types out there and hundreds of people around the world joining donor registers every day (which currently stand at 26 million).

Though we can't know for sure, it's more likely that Casalotti's campaign will help scores of people from these backgrounds in future, as it has (and may continue to) increased donations from much-needed groups. To that end, the Match4Lara campaign is continuing: the family has said that drives and events over the next few weeks will go ahead. 

You can sign up to the registry in your country via the Match4Lara website here.

Barbara Speed is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman and a staff writer at CityMetric.