National Marrow Donor Program Honors Houston’s Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN)


HOUSTON : The Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) in Houston has been named the 2016 Leadership Award recipient by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match, which operates the Be The Match Registry.

As the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world, Be The Match works every day to save lives through transplant. The registry recognizes individuals and groups for outstanding contributions to its mission through an annual award program. Be The Match recognized IACAN for its exceptional success in promoting bone marrow donor registration and donations through educational outreach and bone marrow drives among the South Asian community in the Greater Houston area.

“On behalf of IACAN, I would like to thank all bone marrow donors for their selfless act, all registrants who heeded our call to register, all Indian organizations, groups, individuals and media partners in the Greater Houston for partnering with us to promote bone marrow registration drives. Your support and participation was instrumental in IACAN being recognized with this outstanding award. We look forward to continuing to work together to save and improve the lives of those in need of bone marrow transplants. We thank Gaytri Kapoor, Donor Contact Representative, Be The Match Program, Houston, Texas, for nominating IACAN for this award,” commented Kumari Susarla, current President of IACAN.


Founded in August 2009 in Houston, IACAN is an essential cancer resource network that educates and supports the Indian American community. The organization works tirelessly to educate Houston’s South Asian community about the need for life-saving bone marrow transplantation and the importance of increasing the number of South Asian registrants in the NMDP registry.

While IACAN primarily provides support to South Asian patients in the Greater Houston area, the organization also supports national and international patients. IACAN helps patients in India navigate the bone marrow transplant (BMT) process, and provides support and guidance for patients in India and other countries, including Singapore and Brunei.

In 1996 before the conception of IACAN, P. G. Parameswaran, MD, a now former board member and joint secretary of IACAN, began hosting bone marrow donor drives for Houston’s South Asian community. IACAN is now responsible for organizing and sponsoring over 100 bone marrow donor registration drives. In addition, the organization has registered over 4,000 new registrants, thus substantially increasing the number of South Asian bone marrow donor registrants in the national registry. IACAN has increased the national registry’s Houston area South Asian donations by 275 percent. Before IACAN began its work in 2009, the national registry accounted for 12 donations by South Asians, but since IACAN’s involvement the number of donations has grown to 45 in the Houston area, as of June 2016.

IACAN will receive the 2016 Leadership Award on Friday, November 11 at the opening session of the 2016 NMDP/Be The Match Annual Council Meeting at the Hilton Minneapolis Hotel.