Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) brings hope for patients of cancer and non-cancerous diseases
The advent of bone marrow transplant and then stem cell transplant have made the difference of life and death for the patients with blood cancers,lymphoma, myeloma,neuroblastoma and other noncancerous conditions like Thalassaemia,Aplastic Anemia,Immunodeficiency.
There are about 30,000 transplants being done in USA every year and by the same analogy we should about 1,25,000 transplants per year in India,says Dr Vijay Ramanan,clinical haematologist.
So how many transplants are conduted in India? The answer is few hundreds. It means there is a huge deficit,which we need to fill in next decade if not century. Today whenever any patient requires transplant the primary physician feels that the patient may better go to grave then to a Hematologist for transplant,rues Ramanan.
Transplant is just not putting chemotherapy; its like giving a new birth to the patient and the credit for this act goes to the staff,the engineers,the infection control staff. The cost in India is a fraction of the cost abroad.
This has provided a ray of hope for many patients with Thalassaemia. For the first time,an unrelated cord blood transplant was successfully performed for an Indian patient in Maharastra at Ruby Hall Clinic. We provide free service of selecting a cord blood stem cell bag if the patient has HLA report(WBC matching), says Ramanan.
The best part of BMT is that unlike kidney or liver transplant the patient has to take immunosuppression for only for six to nine months in majority of cases,he explained. The upfront cost of Kidney may be slightly lower but long term costs of BMT are usually negligible.
So far transplants have been done for patients with Aplastic Anemia,Thalassaemia,Lymphoma,Myeloma,Acute lymphoblastic Leukaemia,Acute Myeloid leukaemia,Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in Blast Crisis and others. There are even 10 to12 requests for transplant per month from India and abroad,he says adding that 39 transplants have been performed.
Ruby Hall Clinic also became the first centre to give Total Body Irradiation in Maharastra. This technique helps higher cure rate in leukaemia and lymphoma transplants. Soon a unique staff training programme will also be started for BMT nurses.