A LINK-UP of bone marrow banks in Hong Kong and Taiwan is set to double the likelihood of a leukaemia patient finding a matching donor, a doctor said yesterday. The Hong Kong Marrow Match Foundation and the Taiwan's Chi Tzi Buddhist Charity Foundation are to sign an agreement on collaboration on Saturday which will immediately make the donor registry more than five times bigger. The local data bank has more than 18,000 names. In Taiwan, there are 100,000. Dr Raymond Liang Hin-suen, honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Marrow Match Foundation, said the chance of a leukaemia patient finding an unrelated donor would increase from 40 per cent to between 60 per cent and 80 per cent. 'Details of 10 patients have been sent to Taiwan for screening,' he said. Dr Liang said more than 40 patients were looking for a suitable donor. The Queen Mary Hospital's bone marrow unit has done 280 operations in the last five years. Forty of these transplants used bone marrow from unrelated donors. Each year, there are about 200 new cases of leukaemia, half of which would benefit from a bone marrow transplant, said Dr Liang. Meanwhile, the hospital is conducting ground-breaking experiments on vaccinating donors with a hepatitis antibody to ensure the immunity of the recipient. About 20 per cent of blood cancer patients are hepatitis B carriers.