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Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide

Matching bone marrow donors with patients who need life-saving transplants

Leiden, Netherlands

About the project

Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW) provides a unique service for patients who need a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Using the BMDW online matching service, they gain access to nearly 30 million potential bone marrow donors (and donated cord blood units) provided by 98 donor registries from 54 countries.

Now powering this service is a modern web application, launched in November 2016, built by Cogapp working with a team from BMDW and leaders in the field including ZKRD, Anthony Nolan, NMDP and an international user group.

Notable facilities of the new system, which has been very well received by users, include probabilistic matching, flexible sorting and filtering accessed via a modern accessible web user interface delivered from a high availability, high security web architecture.

Before this project Cogapp was not a specialist in bone marrow transplant science but we do have team members with scientific qualifications up to PhD level. And we specialise in doing serious and difficult work in technical/specialist areas. So when an associate of ours introduced us to BMDW we jumped at the chance to do something challenging and obviously worthwhile.

In technical terms, the new BMDW service is a web application built in Laravel and Bootstrap communicating on the back-end, via an API, with ZKRD's state-of-the-art matching algorithm OptiMatch.

In process terms, we organised the project using an agile methodology with work divided into two week sprints. This allowed us to build fundamental infrastructure and test technology components at the earliest stage with full visibility for client stakeholders. A 'minimal viable product' was reviewed and tested by our international user panel at a stage when we were well able to respond to their valuable feedback. More advanced user functionality was added on to solid foundations in later sprints, with user group insight properly reflected.


If you are working in a scientific or medical area and you have a complex digital project that you want to commission then get in touch with Cogapp. We would love to talk to you.

If you are thinking about the best way to manage a project of this sort then an 'agile' approach organised around two-week sprints can be an effective approach. Get in touch and we will explain how we did it.